(JNS.org) Sweden’s housing minister, Mehmet Kaplan, will resign following remarks in which he compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced Monday.
The Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet revealed Kaplan’s comments, made during a video interview with Somali television in 2009, in which he said that Israelis “treat Palestinians in a way that is very like that in which Jews were treated during Germany in the 1930s.”
The comments were made before Kaplan took office in 2014 as a member of the Green Party, a minor partner in Sweden’s Socialist Democratic Party-led governing coalition.
“Mehmet Kaplan’s overall assessment of the situation is that he will not be able to act as a minister and I share that assessment,” Lofven said.
Kaplan did not apologize for his statement. He said that “on several occasions,” he has “criticized the actions of the State of Israel severely,” but that he is not anti-Semitic. Kaplan said he decided to resign because media publicity has kept him from fulfilling his obligations as a government minister.
Kaplan, who was born in Turkey, has also been tied to Turkish neo-fascist groups. He advocates for an independent Palestinian state and was among the European Union officials onboard one of Gaza flotilla’s ships in May 2010.