The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven made waves Sunday by telling local media that knife attacks in Israel fail to meet the internationally accepted definition of a terror attack. He later backtracked from the comment, saying knife attacks are in fact a form of terror, though they were not orchestrated by groups designated as terrorist organizations.
Local news outlet TT spoke with Löfven during his visit to the Swedish town of Luleå and asked him if the recent spate of knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis were terror attacks. "No, it is not classified as such. There is an international classification regarding what constitutes or does not constitute [terror]. As far as I know, the [knife attacks in Israel] are not defined as terror."
Löfven later qualified his statement. Note that according to his initial statement, recent attacks in the United States would not qualify as terrorism either, unless evidence later emerges that they were directed or coordinated by a larger terrorist group.
This is apparently not the first time Swedish government officials have made gaffes concerning Israel. As Haaretz notes: "Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom … accused Israel of executing Palestinian assailants without trial."
Thanks to my friend Amos Guiora for the pointer.