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Keep Your Finnish Gas Masks

Keep Your Finnish Gas Masks

Dear Finnish Foreign Minister, It's a difficult situation and I am dreadfully sorry you are so upset with the Jewish people. We are, after all, only trying to stay alive.


Re Finland's refusal to sell gas kits to Israel.....

Finland refuses to sell to Israel what are considered to be the best gas-detection kits in the world, despite widespread evaluations that Iraq may attack Israel with poison chemical weapons..... Finland claims that the European Union forbids the export of dual-use equipment to countries in conflict.... Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja provides some "background" to the decision, however. "I am appalled at the Israeli policy of suppression, humiliation, subordination and impoverishment towards the Palestinians," he said.

Dear Mr. Erkki Tuomioja,

Although we here in Israel will survive nicely without your Finnish gas masks, thank you, I am quite impressed with your sensitivity to moral issues. Morality is a good thing for a political leader to espouse. I'm just wondering... are you also appalled at the Arab policy of "suppression" (i.e. destruction) of the Jewish state? At the "humiliation" the State of Israel is forced to experience at the hands of a hypocritical world? At the "impoverishment" of the Israeli economy and the hardships it endured through years of illegal Arab boycotts? Through the closure of markets to Israeli produce? Through the widespread, mafia-like thievery by organized bands of Arabs throughout all of Israel? (Entire industries exist in the West Bank -- all based on stolen Israeli cars, computers, farm equipment and other vital items.)

Oh yes -- I forgot "subordination". I suppose one might say the Arabs are "subordinated" to Israeli rule. Because they have refused time and time again to recognize Israel's right to exist, and have, time and time again, chosen to make war rather than peace, Israel refuses to relinquish control of historical Jewish land she acquired in a war the Arabs began. For the past 30 years of Israeli "rule," the Arabs have indeed been "subordinated" -- to the highest standard of living of all their Arab brethern throughout the Middle East (with the exception of the ruling Saudian family who are in a class of their own). Their death rate has plummeted; their life expectancy has risen by 50%. Their per capital income has increased tenfold as they and their children opened businesses, built houses, sent their kids to universities, saved money, held down newly created jobs, not to speak of the sudden availability of decent welfare and medical care for the first time in their lives. The number of Arab children attending school has risen by more than 100%. Seven Arab universitites were built in the West Bank under Israeli "subordination" (none had existed under Jordanian suzerainty). During the past two years, they have, with their own hands and by their own volition, destroyed much of this prosperity and in its stead, they are free and independent -- no longer "subordinated" to Israel – under the gracious, advanced, democratic, prosperous and liberal rule of Yasser Arafat and his henchmen. They are in fact free to live in one of the most despotic, cruel, corrupt and despised regimes in the entire world.

The Jewish people are not about to leave; nor do they intend to commit suicide in order to assuage your outraged sense of morality.

In sum, Mr. Tuomioja, it's a difficult situation and I am dreadfully sorry you are so upset with the Jewish people. We are, after all, only trying to stay alive. Even the U.N. gave us its blessing in 1948 (although they've done their best to cancel it since then). I'm even sorrier that the Arabs have been kept prisoners by their own brethern in miserable camps, that they are murderously determined to wipe us out, and that the world is such a difficult, unmanageable place. However, in case you are not sufficiently aware of the fact, I feel it incumbent upon myself to tell you that the Jewish People are home; they are not about to leave; nor do they intend to commit suicide in order to assuage your outraged sense of morality.

If our Arab neighbors are unhappy with us, there are countless other Arab countries who will undoubtedly accept their brethern with open arms, just as we have accepted our Jews (600,000 of whom were refugees from Arab lands). If they are able to make peace with our existence, they will surely prosper in the future as they have prospered in the past. Not only since 1948, or 1967, but in the past 200 years, ever since Jews began returning to the Land of Israel. (It was then called Palestine, which was a tiny part of the Ottoman Empire and never an independent state, in case you've forgotten). The more Jews returned here, to their ancient, biblical home, the more the land itself came alive after 2000 years of desolation and neglect. And the more the Jews came, the more Arab immigration from neighboring countries grew. And prospered. You see, the Jews created the word "prosperity" in the Middle East. With their sweat and blood.

If the newly dubbed "Palestinians" (a name they acquired only in the past 25 years. They called themselves "Arabs" -- part of the great Pan Arabian nation -- before that. And before 1948, "Palestinians" were the Jews who lived in Palestine!) continue on the path they have so far chosen, they will continue to destroy themselves. It really is appalling, but then again, as I said, the world is a difficult place. Finland wasn't always the cultured, civilized, peaceful country it now is either. So there's always hope that the Arabs too will advance, change, develop, and a different, less murderous morality will thrive in the Middle East. Meanwhile, we Jews here in Israel are hanging on and doing everything we can not only to survive, but to grow, and prosper. Even without your superb Finnish gas masks.

And who knows, perhaps you're afraid to sell them. Perhaps you'd rather keep them for yourselves. The world being the chaotic and violent place it is -- you or your friends may need those masks some day. Islamic terrorism isn't limited only to Jews.


Yaffa Ganz,

Mr. Tuomioja's e-mail address is

November 9, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 45

(45) Michael, February 17, 2011 11:12 PM

Get your history correct before you judge us

I am Finnish, My grandfather served in what you call WWII did some of our Nazi sympathizers hand Jews over to the German swine? unfortunately yes. HOWEVER, we tried our hardest and did our best to stay neutral. We joined the war to protect our country from the Soviets. We wanted to fight the Soviet expansionists. Why is it you judge our entire people based on the decision of our government? Do you honestly think we are so simple that we quietly march in lockstep with our government without dissent? I read from this website while trying to understand the Judaic religion, however I will search elsewhere because the group of people who run this site obviously do not research what they speak of. If you judge my people, the Finns so quickly and without first understanding us and our history, how can I know you understand anything else you speak of? respond if you like, call me a nazi, call me what you will, I care not, for people who judge so quickly should not be expected to be good people. You don't want anything to do with Finland and her people? Maybe we want nothing to do with you. I will research the great religion of Judaism elsewhere, because the Jews I know and the Judaism I have research calls for ethical behaviour which is clearly absent here.

(44) Anonymous, December 4, 2010 9:31 PM

Swedes cannot afford to talk.

It's a good idea to remember, that Finland is a democracy, and as such she has several political parties, with heavily varying political views. Erkki Tuomioja(a left wing radical in his youth) represents the left wing, which is known to sympathise with Islamic extremists, as their communist views are not far from the views of the Islamists. The communist left is responsible for the growing "humanitarian immigration", which Finland faces mainly from muslim countries. I would still characterize Finland as mainly pro-Israel, pro-Jewish state. You can witness this by watching videos on YouTube, of demonstrations supporting both Israel and Palestine. Pro-Israel marches draw bigger crowds. In response to the Swede commenting below me: Due to the 5% Swedish minority living in Finland, who refuse to integrate to the Finnish society, all Finns are required to study Swedish language, which is a useless language today. Also, since the Swedish occupation, the Swedish minority have seen themselves as superior to Finns. RKP or SFP, the Swedish party in Finland, still hands out Axel Olof Freudenthal -medals. This award is named after a Swedish supremacist, who concidered Finns racially inferior. His views were equal to the Aryan master race theories of the time. These things cause friction between the Swedish and Finnish speaking populations in Finland, and cannot justify cries of discrimination. This I say as a part Swedish Finn. As for the gasmask/gasdetector deal, I'm sure it will live in infamy, almost at par with our Nazi alliance of WW2. For myself, for what it's worth, I apologize.

(43) Lisa, February 21, 2009 7:23 PM

Finland has no sympathy for Palestine nor Israel

As a Swedish minority in Finland, I experienced such discrimination it was unbelievable. The Helsinki Sonamat is one of the most racist newspapers I have ever read, printing racist jokes on its front page that would get any other Western journalist fired and having to change careers! I agree that they worshipped Mannerheim, even though the guy met with Hitler on a couple occasions. Although I do not consider myself anti-semetic (I hope not anyway) I know many Finns to this very day quietly say rotten things about Jewish people. Some do in front of me thinking I won't say anything, but I do, and then they shut up. There are academia in both Finland and North America that still teach the twisted history that Finland loves. One professor even had the gaul as to 'research' (an interview with an elderly Finn) and publish in one of her books that my grandfather never fought in the war. Meanwhile I have pictures of him in uniform at the location near the Russian border. And as far as I know, they didn't have photoshop back then. Shortly after that my grandmother lost my grandfather's wartime pension and I directly blame that professor. I found out later that she had a personal vendetta against the minority that my grandfather was part of because one of that said minority killed her grandfather. If that's not the most stupid and dangerous ideology to hold on to, then I don't know what else is.

(42) Anonymous, March 12, 2008 6:50 PM

I really don"t care if my name is displayed or not, use it if you wish.
I was about to purchase 3 of these Finnish gas mask. But because of their price and my desire to have a product I can depend upon I decided I better do some research on the mask.
Since Israel was wanting to buy them they must be a quality product. But since reading about the actions of the Finnish FM I have decided to look else where for a good gas mask. I don't want to be guilty of assisting anyone who feels that way about Israel.
Thank you for the information.

Lee Pritchett

(41) Robert G., November 17, 2007 11:22 AM

Well written response to Finn FM

I just cannot fathom the timidity and near ignorance the Finn gov't displays with statements like these. I thoroughly believe based on my extensive experience, that this "underdog" portrait of the Palestine people is magnified out of proportion. The problems within Palestine are not so much caused by Israel, but form outside factions seeking control of this land and destruction of Israel. Not to mention the internal strife between the power faction within Palestine.

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