Israel finds a defender in Denmark (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON 02/03/05)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Since Denmark has only a tiny Jewish community, Danish Prime Minister
Anders Fogh Rasmussen can´t be accused of pandering to the Jewish
vote when he launched a spirited defense of Israel on the campaign
stump earlier this week.
During an appearance at the University of Aarhus, Rasmussen was
challenged over his support for the US and asked why Iraq was
attacked for violating UN Security Council resolutions while Israel
was able to do so with impunity.
Rasmussen, whose country began a two-year rotating stint on the
Security Council on January 1, said that whereas Israel was not
completely implementing all the Security Council resolutions, "it is
not run by a dictator without a conscience, and that is an essential
"Moreover," he said, "Israel is surrounded by enemies that want to
throw it into the sea, and we should recognize that it has a special
history. Israel must use somewhat tough measures to defend itself."
Rasmussen´s comments were applauded in Jerusalem.
"Over the last few months we have seen signs of improvement in our
relationship with Europe," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark
Regev. "It is good to see that of late we are seeing more positive
statements from European leaders showing greater concern for Israel´s
Rasmussen, head of a center-right coalition in Denmark that is pro-
American, faces re-election on February 8, with polls showing he is
comfortably leading the race.
Denmark has some 500 troops in Iraq.
Israeli diplomatic sources said they were not surprised by
Rasmussen´s comment. "This type of comment is not extraordinary for
him," one official said. "He is one of our more supportive prime
ministers today in Europe."
This may be one of several reasons why the not inconsiderable Muslim
community in Denmark is mobilizing to unseat him.
On Friday the AFP news agency reported that Rasmussen urged Muslim
clerics to "stay out of politics" as a group of imams prepared to ask
followers to vote for the opposition.
Twenty-five imams living in Denmark are expected to meet Wednesday to
develop a strategy to help promote the opposing parties.
There are an estimated 170,000 Muslims in Denmark out of a population
of 5.4 million, making Islam the country´s second largest religion.
There are an estimated 6,500 Jews in Denmark. (© 1995-2005, The
Jerusalem Post 02/03/05)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY