Sweden tweets on Jews stir critics

2012-06-13 12:05
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Stockholm - A woman given the chance to briefly take over Sweden's official Twitter account on Tuesday stirred controversy on the social network after posting comments about Jews.

Sonja Abrahamsson, describing herself as a "low educated" single mother of two from Goteborg, in Sweden's west, provocatively asked what makes a Jew a Jew, and used crude language.

"What's the fuzz with Jews" she asked in one tweet on the @sweden account, suggesting it's hard to tell them apart from other people and then went on to joke about Jewish circumcision.

In another, she said not even the Nazis could tell the difference: "In Nazi German[y] they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn't, they could never [k]now who was a Jew and who was not a Jew."

She also asked whether the Nazis sought to find the difference in the Jewish religion, or whether it was a "blood-thing" for them.

The reactions were immediate. One tweeter wrote "in one day @sweden went from global Twitter superstar to PR embarrassment".

Account to stay up

Another suggested the Swedish chef from the Muppet show might as well assume control over the account, while others defended Abrahamsson's courage to raise her voice in such a frank way, politely answering her questions and sending her links to read more.

One tweeter, who said she was Jewish, said she hadn't been offended at all.

Later, Abrahamsson apologised if she had offended anyone, saying that was not her purpose. "I just don't get why some people hate Jews so much," she added.

Maria Ziv, marketing director at Visit Sweden - a Public Relations agency that set up the project - said the Twitter account would not be shut down just because some people had been provoked.

If Abrahamsson's comments had been racist "we would have taken them down", she added.

The project allows different citizens from various walks of life to curate the account each week. Tweeters have so far included both a female priest and a lesbian truck-driver.

The tweets are not pre-read or censored, but personal political opinions are to be followed with the hash-tag myownopinion.

As of Tuesday, the @sweden account had 34 500 followers and almost 20 000 tweets.
 

Read more on:    twitter  |  sweden  |  social networks

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