A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Day's Best Diplomatic Exchange About Furniture

It all started with Sweden's recent decision to recognize the State of Palestine.

That inspired Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to comment:
It is too bad that the government of Sweden has chosen to adopt the measure that does a lot of damage and has no benefits. Sweden must understand that relations in the Middle East are much more complicated than self-assembly furniture at IKEA.
To this, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom reportedly told CNN:
I think it’s a sign of a sense of humor, and I will be happy to send him a flat pack of IKEA furniture and he will also see that what you need to put that together is, first of all, a partner. You also need to cooperate and you need a good manual. I think we have most of those elements if we want to use them also for the conflict in the Middle East. For peace you need two parties to actually sit down at the same table and discuss the future.
Both pretty clever but I think Wallstrom wins for the comeback.

And the Swedes do know a bit about peacemaking in the Middle East, though she was polite enough not to bring up Count Folke Bernadotte and 1948.

At least it wasn't Denmark. Then we'd have jokes about building peace out of Legos.

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