In the wake of Israel’s demand that Sweden go against its policy of freedom of speech and condemn Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom’s article accusing of Israel of organ theft, I think it’s important to go back in time and highlight an event in 1948 when Israeli militants assassinated Folke Bernadotte. Bernadotte, a Swede, was assigned by the UN to mediate peace between Zionists/Israelis and Palestinians. Many Zionists didn’t agree when he suggested that Jerusalem be a city under international control and not Israeli. So a group called the Lehi (or Stern Gang in English) killed him in 1948. The 61st anniversary of his assassination is a few weeks away on September 17. Ironically, only a few years before he was killed, Bernadotte was celebrated for negotiating the release of tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi concentration camps.
Many Israelis say that those who perpetrated such attacks around 1948 were a bunch of extremists, and didn’t represent the majority of the Zionist society. I find this hard to believe. Pre-state militias like the Stern Gang, Irgun and Haganah were all quickly migrated into the nascent Israeli state, the latter of the three was even transformed directly into the base of the Israeli army. No one was ever convicted of the assassination. In fact, one of the Stern Gang’s leaders, Yitzhak Shamir, would later become Israel’s 7th Prime Minister in the 1980s.
Bernadotte’s assassination has never been officially condemned in Israel, nor have they apologized for it. And yet they expect the State of Sweden to condemn the words of one journalist in one article.