Monday, June 7, 2010

Nation Wide Boycotts and Israel Bashing in Sweden

As a reaction of Israel halting the ”Ship to Gaza” flotilla, there is much Israel-bashing in Sweden and a number and a number of individuals as well as organizations in Sweden hae announced their intention to start boycotting Israel.

Amongst these is the Dockworkers’ Union in Sweden. The union has decided, as a response to the “attack on the Ships to Gaza”, to boycott Israel for more than a week starting June 15th until midnight on June 24th. According to the daily Dagens Nyheter it is unknown how many ships will be affected. According to the union itself the boycott does not impact large amounts of imports.

 The union also urged other unions and organizations to join them through similar initiatives and called for Israel to be brought to justice for the attack, respect “international law "and immediately lift the blockade of Gaza.

In Helsingborg as well, the left wing opposition in the municipal council wants to enforce a communal boycott against Israel.

According to Jan Andersson (Social Democrats’ head in Helsingborg) the reason for the boycott is to encourage other communities to do the same in order to “to show Israel that we don’t tolerate their shooting innocent people that are about to conduct actions of solidarity”. He ignores knowingly or not, the fact that at least 50 of these” innocent people” were armed, connected to, and paid by Islamic Jihad groups. They also stated before they sailed that they were seeking to become martyrs. Andersson is clearly among the group of uninformed Swedes such as Victoria Strand that are too ignorant to recall why Israel had to board the ships in the first place—and ignorant  as well of their right to do so under actual  international law.

A communal boycott such as the one Andersson (S) is encouraging has never been conducted. Such a boycott could also be problematic as it would go against the foreign policies of the Swedish government as well as agree- upon trade guidelines for the EU. This doesn’t bother Andersson who seeks to force a boycott upon all Helsingborg’s citizens—whether they want it or not. In the TV clip above, Andersson claims a boycott is needed “in order for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live side by side without aiming guns at each other”. How this would exactly work he doesn’t specify as it just as stupid as it sounds.  Try this thought exercise: if Swedes in Helsingborg stop eating Israeli tomatoes, or pull out their Israeli cardiac stents, or—even more dramatically—throw away their microchip devices, then peace will reign in the Middle East. Or not.

In a moment of Swedish sanity, Chairman of the Municipal Council Peter Danielsson (Moderate) on the, argued that a municipality is unable to conduct foreign policies as the Social Democrats, The Left and the Green Party seek to do in Helsingborg.  Also, according to Danielsson it should be up to the individual citizen to choose what he wants to buy or not.

Henning Mankell, the famous Swedish author who was part of the “Ship to Gaza” flotilla has also considered boycotting Israel by stopping the sales of his books in the country. According to the author himself:
-“ I am a bestselling author in Israel and I will really have to consider if I will prohibit translating my work into Hebrew.” At the same time he does not want this to happen to the “wrong people so I will have to think about it”. Last week Mankell was willing to “risk his life” for the Palestinian cause. It seems very clear that Mankell does not stay true to his “humanitarian support” but cares more about the profits from his sales.

In other places in Sweden such as Umeå in Sweden’s far north, the Green Party is also encouraging boycotts against Israel.

Nationwide demonstrations also took place where thousands of people called for a boycott of the State of Israel.

In the Israel-hating tabloid Aftonbladet the political editor-in-chief and anti-Israel advocate Helle Klein also encouraged Sweden to boycott Israel. She also took the time to add to the demonization of Israel by claiming that Israel still “illegally occupies both Gaza and the West Bank”. (These are false accusations of course, as the only Israeli soldier left in Gaza is Hamas’s prisoner Gilad Schalit, who is denied even Red Cross visits.  Incidentally, the highly “humanitarian” Ship to Gaza participants refused to even take a package for him. Another fact: Israel relinquished control over the vast majority of the residents in the West Bank years ago, but let’s not confuse Helle with the facts.)

During the last week Sweden seems to have gone into an Israel-hating frenzy with obsessive news broadcasts based on false facts concerning the boarding of the ships that were heading towards Gaza. Little to no attention has been paid to other troubled areas or major issues in the world. One can conclude that in Sweden Israel continues to be declared guilty without proof.

1 comment:

  1. Now we know where to put all the Palestinians after the next battle!