Thursday, June 24, 2010

Swedish Dockworkers Conduct Boycott of Convenience

As  I have mentioned earlier, the Swedish Dock Workers Union (Svenska Hamnarbetarförbundet) has decided to conduct a boycott against Israeli cargo arriving into Swedish ports as well as cargo that sets off towards Israel.  The boycott concerns almost all Israeli goods, except those which are inconvenient for the Swedes to boycott.

The self- initiated boycott was decided on as a response to the “attack on the Ships to Gaza activists” and started on the night between the 22nd and the 23rd of June and is to take place for a week.  In a statement in Swedish news debate forum Newsmill there is  an article written by the dockworkers themselves which states:

From the 23rd of June the Swedish Dockworkers Union will no longer unload or load Israeli ships and cargo to and from Israel. The limited-term blockade will hopefully stop Swedish trade  with Israel by sea until July 29th. The Swedish Dockworker Union’s actions are not isolated. We are working parallel with the dockworkers in South Africa and Norway, a first international action in order to achieve two goals from the state of Israel: 1. Stop the blockade of Gaza. 2. Allow an international investigation of the violent boarding of the freedom flotilla.”

While caught up in the frenzy of hating Israel many Swedes might not have noticed a small and problematic statement which was made by the Union’s man of confidence  Erik Helgeson from the dockworkers’ department in Göteborg. According to Helgeson, some goods are not going to be blockaded from entering in the Sweden, giving less credibility to the boycott as a whole.

In an article in Svenska Dagbladet Helgeson explains that for example, dialysis machines will be exempted from the boycott--meaning there will probably be a number of other goods allowed into Sweden which have been made in, and shipped from, Israel. What many have failed to notice then is that in fact, a variety of goods still will be shipped in to Sweden during the blockade as, according to Helgeson’s “the purpose is not to harm the sick”, meaning the sick in Sweden, of course.

When a union conducts a boycott of convenience like the one conducted by the dockworkers Union in Sweden this doesn’t give much credibility to the boycott nor to the organization itself. It also shows that the sympathy that the dockworkers claim to have for the Palestinian cause is only so great when it is convenient for the Swedes—when it’s not, they could not care less about Palestinians—when in need hypocritical Swedes still allow for goods they want to enter into the country .

If the dockworkers truly felt for the Palestinian cause (despite its glorification and promotion of murder and genocide) they would stop all goods from Israel from entering Sweden. By choosing not to do so, their boycott is nothing but one more statement that many Swedes are at best hypocrites rather than the humanitarians they claim to be. If the dockworkers really were humanitarians,  they already would have boycotted the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). It is blacklisted in the US, but has unrestricted access to Swedish ports.   

The union earlier stated that the boycott of Israel and Israeli goods was to take place starting June 15th until midnight on June 24th. The reasons as to why the boycott did not occur at its set times is unknown, yet one cannot help but wonder if the workers perhaps knew that they were expecting important cargo from Israel—and therefore decided to push forward the date to start the boycott at a more convenient time for Swedish “humanitarians”.

1 comment:

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