While Swedish officials told The Jerusalem Post late last week that the visit was in doubt, Israeli diplomatic officials said Saturday night that the visit had definitely been cancelled.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was considering not meeting Bildt unless he condemned the article in the tabloid Aftonbladet, something the Swedish government - citing freedom of the press - had adamantly refused to do.
Netanyahu gave vent to Israel's disappointment over the matter during a meeting last week in Jerusalem with visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
During that meeting, Netanyahu said that no one was expecting the Swedes to restrict freedom of the press, but that it was reasonable to expect the government to speak out against the type of defamation that in the past had led to the mass murder of Jews.
Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and Bildt's failure to visit here will have an impact on the country's ability during its term as president to have any real say on the diplomatic process.
Ironically, while the Swedes continued to refuse to condemn the article, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos said Saturday in Stockholm that he regretted the Spanish newspaper El Mundo's decision to run an interview Saturday with Holocaust denier David Irving as part of a retrospective on the start of World War II 70 years ago.
"The foreign minister, while maintaining the most absolute respect for freedom of expression, regrets that space was given to a historian who denies one of the biggest tragedies for humanity in modern history," a spokesman for Moratinos said. "These types of statements deeply hurt the Jewish people."