Scandinavian Leadership Delegation -May 2003, September 2005, October 2006, February 2008

In 2008, in collaboration with AJC’s Thanks to Scandinavia, Scandinavian journalists, Parliamentarians, academics, and political party activists visited Israel for the first time. The delegation met with Vice-Premier Shimon Peres, who gave an overview of Israel’s foreign policy priorities, relations with Europe and international bodies, an update on Israeli-Palestinian relations and his prognosis for negotiations with Lebanon and Syria. The group discussed Israel-Scandinavian relations with foreign ministry officials and at a dinner hosted by Norway’s Ambassador to Israel Jakken Biorn Lian. They visited an immigrant absorption center, a service organization for victims of terror, and a center for at-risk youth. Participants discussed Israel’s view of morality in war-time and toured the northern border areas and a portion of the security fence around Jerusalem.The group also met with Palestinian leaders, academics and journalists.

There is an urgent need to expose Scandinavian opinion-makers to Israel firsthand.  Several decades ago, many thousands of idealistic young people from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Sweden volunteered on kibbutzim and felt personally connected to Israel through a shared social vision. Unfortunately, opinion has radically changed and Sweden and Norway have since become some of Israel’s most reliably vehement critics.  Though small in size, Scandinavian representatives exert great influence over European foreign policy and world opinion.

Since 2003, Project Interchange has partnered with AJC Institute Thanks To Scandinavia (TTS) to sponsor trips for Nordic journalists and parliamentarians.  The Institute greatly extended this program in 2007.  Key participants were Northern European foreign policy elites, including advisors and officials representing moderate, center and center-right Parliamentary coalitions.  P.I. engaged party advisors and political leaders from diverse parties, who returned to their home communities with personal insight and enhanced understanding of Israel from a political, social and economic perspective.

February 9-16, 2008 Press

February 9-16, 2008 Photos

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16-21 October 2006 Press

16-21 October 2006 Photos

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September 18-25, 2005 Press

September 18-25, 2005 Photos

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In 2005

only a few days after Israel completed its disengagement from Gaza, a group of Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Members of Parliament and journalists decided to put aside their predetermined convictions and discover this new reality for themselves.

This seminar drew members of the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish Parliament, as well as leading Nordic journalists for an intensive educational seminar. This Seminar, scheduled in the aftermath of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip, offered participants an opportunity to observe and discuss with many segments of Israeli society the issues raised by this voluntary withdrawal. During this seminar, which included briefings on Israeli civil society, culture and arts, participants also met with defenders and critics of the disengagement plan, representatives of civil society, policy and strategic experts from Israeli government and private think tanks, as well as officials of the Palestinian Authority and Legislative Council.

May 18-22, 2003 Press