Israel is doing its best to turn the antisemitic slander in one Swedish newspaper into a full-blown diplomatic incident. Now Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has asked his Swedish counterpart to print a state rebuttal to the piece published in the Aftonbladet tabloid earlier this week, alleging that IDF soldiers kidnapped and killed Palestinians in order to take their internal organs.
The Swedish have refused - as they should have. Repulsive as the piece is, it is simply not the government's responsibility. The Israelis should be going after the newspaper, not the foreign ministry.
According to blogger Meryl Yourish, however, by refusing to apologise, the Swedes are behaving with appalling double-standards. She points out that when a Swedish newspaper published a sketch of the Prophet Mohammad as a dog, government representatives apologised to the Pakistanis.
As she herself notes, the difference is mainly one of tone - the government also defended freedom of the press and the government minister who shut down a website on which the sketch appeared resigned.
But even if it isn't, and the Swedes are hypocrites, surely the answer is that they shouldn't have apologised to the Muslims either - not that they should apologise to the Israelis as well?