Israel's ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, said that the owner
of the building which currently houses the Stockholm embassy
has asked the Israeli government to relocate it, citing
concern for the security of other tenants.
The Swedish government is considering issuing a conciliatory
note to bring to an end the crisis in relations between the
two countries resulting from the controversial art exhibit in
Stockholm, according to sources in the Foreign Ministry in
The scandal broke out after Mazel turned off the lights aimed
at an installation made by former Israeli Dror Feiler, now a
Swedish citizen, and his Swedish wife Gunnar. Mazel, backed
by the government in Jerusalem, said the Feiler installation,
part of an art exhibit accompanying a prestigious
international conference on genocide, glorified the bomber,
and violated an prior agreement with the Israeli government
that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not be part of
Jerusalem also wants the episode closed, and will be
satisfied with an appropriately conciliatory statement by
Sweden, to enable the Israeli delegation to attend the
conference as planned.
The Swedish ambassador in Israel expressed regret about the
incident and the hope that Israel does not boycott the
conference. He emphasized that his government had no legal
recourse to get the installation removed from exhibit, due to
stringent freedom of expression laws in Sweden.
When Mazel pulled the plugs on the installation on Saturday
night, Dror Feiler approached him angrily, shouting in
Hebrew, "You're doing exactly what you do in Nablus. This is
a free country and I can say what I want to say here, not
like you in your apartheid country."
Israel's ambassador to Sweden said that he physically
attacked an art exhibit at a Stockholm museum because it
"glorified suicide bombers." The ambassador, Zvi Mazel, was
among several hundred guests invited to the Museum of
National Antiquities in Stockholm on Friday for an exhibit
linked to a coming international conference on genocide
sponsored by Sweden. Israel is one of the scheduled
The piece that enraged the ambassador, "Snow White and the
Madness of Truth," was in the museum's courtyard and featured
a large basin filled with red fluid. A boat floated on top
carrying a smiling photo of the woman who became a suicide
bomber, murdering 22 people in an Oct. 4 attack on a
restaurant in Haifa.
Mazel ripped out electrical wires lighting the exhibit and
tossed a spotlight into the basin.
Mr. Mazel, who has served in his post for a little over a
year, said he has faced considerable anger directed at Israel
during his time in Sweden. "There is a hostile ambience in
this country that is orchestrated by the press and the
extreme left," he said. But he said Prime Minister Goran
Persson "has very good intentions with this conference."
Mr. Feiler is a member of Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace,
a group based in Stockholm that opposes the Israeli
occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the
Reuters news agency.
The Israeli envoy, an experienced diplomat, made clear to
Ha'aretz that he had planned his protest ahead of
time, after the director of the event refused his request to
remove the exhibit. According to Mazel, "That's not art, it's
Feiler, on the other hand, pointed out that the text also
spoke of the murder of the innocent. He views what happened
as an infringement of the freedom of artistic expression.
At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon said that he had telephoned Israeli Ambassador Zvi
Mazel and thanked him for his stance against the increasing
antisemitism and said that Israel supports him in this
matter. The Prime Minister added that "I believe that
Ambassador Zvi Mazel acted correctly as what we witnessed
there was so serious that it is forbidden for us to remain
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said: "Freedom of expression
does not give anyone the right to justify terror attacks
against Israeli citizens. It is unreasonable that an
exhibition which is supposed to deal with preventing murder
will include an exhibit which identifies with a woman
responsible for the murder of dozens of Israelis. This is
The Foreign Minister added that the exhibit "reflects
increased European identification with and justification of
terror against Israel and demonstrates complete insensitivity
and thoughtlessness to the suffering of the citizens of an
entire state as well as those who have been injured and lost
loved ones in terror attacks. It is common in Europe today,
for the tables to be turned and for murderers to be labeled
as victims, and that Israel is always guilty.
"We must view Ambassador Mazel's action as cry for everyone.
His actions will raise the issue of the double standards with
which Israel is judged and apathy towards the suffering of
Israeli civilians in the face of Palestinian terror.
"Just as Israel would not provide shelter, artistic or
otherwise, and in doing so justify or generate understanding
towards the person that murdered the Swedish Foreign
Minister, we also expect that Sweden and any other moral
country, would not patronize an artistic exhibit justifying
the murder of Israelis."