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In April, the Swedish NGO and think tank Perspectives On Israel (PPI) in a Jerusalem Post op-ed brought attention to the fact that the NGO Islamic Relief (IR) was receiving funding from the Swedish government aid agency SIDA. There exists clear evidence that the IR project “Cash for Work” has benefited Hamas and its institutions in the Gaza strip. In addition to PPI’s criticism of IR, there exists international criticism against IR for its ties to terror organizations. Israel has banned IR from working in Israel, including Judea and Samaria, and declared it an illegal organization. According to news reports, the decision was made by Israel after the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IR. In addition to this the UAE lists IR as a terror organization. PPI is awaiting a political reaction in Sweden to our findings and the international criticism-so far, silence. Unfortunately, Sweden is a country where the majority accepts that tax money goes to an organization that aids terrorists.

In May, PPI’s spokesperson Nima Gholam Ali Pour revealed in the newspaper Samtiden that Islamic Relief’s country director in Sweden is spreading anti-Semitic myths on Facebook. Some of the anti-Semitic myths that were spread on Facebook by IR’s country director were that Jews are behind the Holocaust and that they control the World Bank. Again this was met with silence from our politicians and journalists in Sweden.


The Swedish media that is so interested in writing one after the other news articles on alleged “apartheid” in Israel was not interested in writing that the Swedish government aid agency SIDA is funding an organization which has benefited Hamas institutions and has a leading representative in Sweden that seems to have racist views. Neither the Swedish government nor SIDA has commented on this scandal.

While SIDA chooses to continue its co-operation with IR more and more Jews are fleeing from Sweden’s major cities because of growing anti-Semitism in Sweden. In a situation, where the Swedish government and major social institutions in Sweden should make a clear repudiation of anti-Semitism, they choose not to do so, by not distancing themselves from IR.

PPI regrets to announce that Sweden more and more is becoming a country where anti-Semitism is acceptable. The scandal around IR is one example of many. Information that IR has close connections to Hamas institutions and has benefited them have been presented. No political actions have been taken against IR. Sida has yet not showed any interest in knowing which the more than hundred organizations are that IR has involved in its aid projects in the Gaza strip and there by benefited with Swedish funding. Information that IR’s country director has been spreading anti-Semitism on Facebook was presented. No one did anything. Sweden’s political establishment seems to have the same values as the Germans had in the 1930s. PPI invites everyone opposing anti-Semitism to write to the Swedish government and ask them to stop SIDA’s funding of IR, an organization that have benefited the anti-Semites in Hamas and whose representatives are spreading anti-Semitism. Racism must never be accepted in any society.


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Nima Gholam Ali Pour is a political commentator in Sweden and has a master's degree in International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER). Tobias Petersson is a Swedish freelance writer and has focused on Israel and the MENA region. They are the spokespersons for Perspective on Israel, a grass root NGO, founded in 2013 to counteract the negative, distorted image of Israel that is spread in the Swedish media and in political parties.