the Swedish Left Party . At the same time, around 40 small organizations from 14 countries in Europe were expected to demonstrate against the Swedish clothing store’s decision to open in Israel.
At the demonstration in Malmö, slogans such as “H&M--Don’t accept the occupation of Palestine,” were chanted by the demonstrators. Maja Backlund who is the spokesperson for the network Isolate Israel was interviewed by southern Swedish newspaper Trelleborgs Allehanda and stated:
“We are against the politics run by the current government, not the actual state of Israel.”
Another demonstrator was Anders Püschel who said “he is not scared that the demonstration will be seen as anti-Semitic.” He also (incorrectly) stated that:
“The country [Israel] is fundamentally racist in an exceptional way. Jews from all around the world are allowed to move there while the non-Jewish groups are denied their rights.”
In Sweden, five organizations which claim that H&M should not be opened in Israel are:
Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred (JIPF)
Palestinska Föreningen i Stockholm
Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS)
The installation portrayed a Palestinian suicide bomber floating on a pool of “blood” and was, according to many, a way to glorify Palestinian suicide bombers who attack Israeli civilians.
According to Feiler, the anti-Israeli demonstrations are necessary—if H&M is not boycotted in Israel, local taxes paid on revenues will continue to finance the “occupation” of Palestinian territory.
Obviously, not a lot of people supported this ridiculous boycott of H&M’s Israeli stores. Only some 15 people from these marginal groups showed up in Malmö to demonstrate against the opening. Not even the national press picked up the story. The story was only covered in Trelleborgs Allehanda and Laholms tidning which are published in towns which have 25,000 and 5,000 inhabitants respectively.
Representatives from H&M themselves commented, “H&M is a non-political company and do not take a stance in religious nor political matters. We further think that trade and dialogue promotes development.”
Instead of bashing Israel, which is in fact the only true democracy in the Middle East, these small and petty fringe organizations might have gotten more support if, like H&M, they came up with constructive solutions promoting dialogue and development.