Monday, June 14, 2010

Single ICA store boycotts Israel

A week ago it became known that the manager of an ICA supermarket in Växjö, John Curovac, had initiated a boycott against Israel without the consent of ICA’s board, his personnel or his customers. ICA is a nationwide supermarket with thousands of branches in Sweden.

Curovac is an immigrant from Bosnia who  came to Sweden in 1992. He says he knows what the population in Gaza is going through as he has “experienced similar things” before he came to Sweden. This, although it is very hard to see similarities between the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and the conflict that took place in Bosnia in the 1990s. In an interview he further explains his own initiated boycott as “his chance to do something even though it might mean that he can loose everything”.

According to himself all of his personnel- which he also explains as “mainly not interested in politics” have agreed to participate in the boycott. Curovac also claims that only one customer has complained about the self initiated boycott- all other responses have been positive.

One customer on the other hand he stated “has told me that she will buy her food elsewhere in the future”. To this Curovac proudly commented that he answered “you can buy your food wherever you want and I promise I won’t come in a helicopter and take it from you”. One can not help noticing his ironic undertones most probably trying to refer to Israel and the Gaza strip. Israel has never though, taken any food out of Gaza by a helicopter. On the contrary Israel helps brining food and humanitarian into the Strip. The fact that Hamas fails to distribute the goods to the Gaza population Curovac does not seem to care or may not even know about.

The aim of Curovac’s boycott is also, according to himself, to get a lighter conscience. By boycotting Israel he also claims that he wants to achieve equal rights for both Palestinian and Israelis. Boycotting Israeli goods will not be a good way to achieve his goals, yet the store manager does not seem very rational as well. The boycott will continue, Curovac states, until “Palestinians get all their rights”. Which these are he won’t specify- maybe it incorporates that Hamas will eliminate Israel and commit genocide against on its citizens. This is a right which Hamas themselves claims to be entitled to and a right which Curovac currently represents with his boycott. 

In order to more effectively conduct the boycott Curovac has encouraged his personnel to throw away all Israeli goods. Therefore the people working in ICA have destroyed fruits, vegetables as well as cans of good from Israel. He is also asking his customers to inform the personnel if they will find anything else which is originating from Israel so that it could be destroyed.
It is sad to see that one ignorant man still is able to conduct an illegal boycott which goes against the will of the ICA concern. ICA stores have not decided to conduct a boycott against Israel and therefore a single store manager should not be able to do whatever he feels necessary to lighten his conscience.

By letting Curovac apply his political thoughts to a national chain of supermarkets one can only wonder what the next step will be. Will some branches of nationwide pharmacies start bonfires burning Israeli heart medicines? Will individual passport control officers refuse to let Israelis into Sweden? Is destroying vegetables perhaps one step before Swedes start burning Israeli books?

It is clear that more people, except for this one brave lady that rightfully complained about Curovac’s illegal actions, need to stand up for the rule of law. A store manager cannot conduct foreign policy for a company which claims to “not take a political stance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “When it comes to boycotts for a certain countries goods [Israel] we follow the UN and Swedish governments recommendations as to business relations with other countries”.

To oppose a lawless society and John Curovac’s illegal boycott please go onto ICA’s homepage and write to ICA’s board and complain: 

or write John Curovac himself :

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