An open letter to Isaac Bachman, Ambassador of Israel.
I write this to you without having any official authority in the Church of Sweden. I am but an ordinary parish-priest without affiliation to any of the parties that make up our church´s ruling bodies. These words are my own and I do not claim to speak for anyone but myself.
Nevertheless, I am dismayed at the way that people with authority and influence in our church have behaved and spoken in relationship to Israel lately. The, by now, infamous proclamation by the socialdemocrat Anna-Karin Hammar – that the Israeli delegation´s participation in Stockholm Pride was a matter of ”pinkwashing” – was only the latest incident that have brought shame upon our church. The mentioned Anna-Karin Hammar has for a long time used her position in the church to agitate against Israel and to peddle the goods of the antisemitic BDS-movement. But, Anna-Karin Hammar´s anti-Israeli opinions and activism are not, by any means, legitimate representatives of our church.
Further injury has been caused by the fact that our bishops apparently neither can nor want to distance themselves from the BDS-movement. The response from bishop Fredrik Modéus to a question put by Annika Borg and Johanna Andersson in Kyrkans Tidning illustrates the problem. It isn’t ethically good enough by a bishop to only cling to documents and statements by non-clergy civil servants in our church when addressing questions of antisemitic activism. A clear statement against it is necessary. There seems to be good reasons to question the ethical and moral stature of our church´s leadership in relation to Israel.
Our leaders´ inability to distance themselves from the antisemitic sentiments of the BDS-movement and the fact that a prominent member of the upper echelons of our church has charged Israel with the clearly antisemitic ideas of ”pinkwashing” is nothing but a monumental disgrace and embarrassment to our church. As an ordinary parish-priest I would like to extend my sincere and deep apologies to you and to the people of Israel for our leaders´ lack of moral and ethical integrity regarding these questions.
I am, together with many here in Sweden, aware that there are numerous and complex problems that need to be solved in Israel´s part of the world. People of good will are dearly needed. Please know that there are people of good will here – in Sweden and in our church – that stand by the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
With regards and best wishes for Israel´s and your wellbeing when you now leave Sweden for other duties.