Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Swedish Consumers’ Association Wants to Boycott Israel

The consumer cooperative society for Western Sweden, Konsumentföreningen Väst (KF Väst) wants the nation-wide grocery store “Coop Forum”, which they own, to stop selling Israeli products.

The consumer cooperative society for Western Sweden consists of some 350,000 members yet at their recent meeting, which called upon an Israeli boycott, only 425 were present. As reported in several Swedish newspapers, a majority of these 425 members who were present in Göteborg agreed on three motions dealing with a boycott of Israeli products by the “Coop” grocery stores. The consumer cooperative society for Western Sweden will now pass the boycott issue on to other Swedish consumer cooperatives to get a nation-wide agreement on the boycott.

The resolutions cited Israel's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as grounds for a boycott.

Coop Forum has as a policy of stating where its food products, such as fruit and vegetables come from. Last winter, during Operation Cast Lead, this became a problem as Israeli products in Coop Forum stores were destroyed and vandalized by anti-Israeli customers.

Coop Forum is not the only nation-wide grocery store that sells Israeli food products. Large grocery chain stores such as ICA Maxi, Konsum or Hemköp for example, sell products which are imported from Israel. Until now, however, no one has called for these grocery stores to stop selling Israeli imported products.

Minister of Trade Ewa Björ¬ling was interviewed by daily Christian newspaper Världen Idag  about the vandalization of Israeli products in Coop Forum grocery stores last year and concerning this civilian boycott. When asked about the situation she replied:

-“The Swedish government has no trade boycott with Israel. We follow the laws of the UN and I am not supporting a boycott [of Israel].

According to Björling, “it is up to the customer to buy whatever product he or she chooses” but in another words not to destroy them!

It is interesting to see that the Swedish Consumer’s Association wants to see a boycott of Israeli groceries. They organization, on the other hand, did not mention anything about boycotting other non-food products from Israel which are sold in Sweden. Perhaps such a boycott would be too inconvenient for themselves as consumers. Such a boycott would include products ranging from gourmet wines and high-quality Dead Sea skin care, to art supplies, exotic flowers, security equipment and a large range of IT products, including Intel computer chips and ICQ.

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