The chairperson of Reykjavík’s welfare committee made a Facebook post which had a number of people scratching their heads, but was in response to the US blocking Palestinian statehood in the United Nations.
To those familiar with the term, “Jewnited States” is a term often used by hate groups and anti-Semites, usually in reference to some imagined Jewish global conspiracy. When Social Democrat Björk Vilhelmsdóttir – who heads the welfare committee for Reykjavík – posted the phrase on her Facebook last Thursday, none of her friends contested it.
The Grapevine called Björk to ask her what her motives were behind the post. She told us that she had been protesting in front of the US embassy, as they had said they would veto any majority ruling on granting Palestine statehood. Her husband – head of the Iceland-Palestine Society Sveinn Runar Hauksson – had received a text which read “Jewnited States”, and she told us she thought it was “clever”.
“The Jews control Congress and the White House,” she said. “The US has used this veto power in the UN 47 times regarding Israel.”
When asked if she was aware that not every Jewish person on the planet – among them, Jewish people in America – supports the policies of the Israeli government, or if she was aware that evangelical Christians are a powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the US, she replied, “Of course. There are many, many Jewish people who want peace and support a two-state solution.” She also said she was not aware that “Jewnited States” is used by hate groups.
As the conversation progressed, it became clear that she does, in fact, make a distinction between Jewish people as a whole, and people who support Israeli’s policies towards Palestine.