Swedish Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Newsletter No 28

This newsletter is published by the Action Group at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) for Boycott of Israel in collaboration with the network Isolera Israel. It provides information about academic and cultural boycott and on BDS in general in Sweden and internationally. Find old issues of the newsletter at: http://psabi.se/ and about BDS in Swedish at http://isoleraisrael.nu/.

Swedish government stops information about Palestine

Referring to a publication by the Palestine Solidarity Association PGS, in which Israel occupation was called apartheid-like, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Aid has decided that funds may no longer go to “politically controversial” purposes or aim to change people’s attitudes, it was reported in the morning paper Svenska Dagbladet. The author notes that this “censorship” stands in stark contrast to the ample funding of information about the violation of freedom of speech in other countries. Read more (in Swedish): http://www.svd.se/opinion/brannpunkt/slopa-censuren-i-bistandet_8887254.svd.

The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs hails a war criminal

At the death of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the of Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt said that “Sharon was a great Israeli leader, a brilliant military commander, and a wise statesman, who understood the necessity of peace”. The Left Party foreign affairs spokesman Hans Linde considered this statement “immensely provocative”, while the Green Party spokesperson Mehmet Kaplan found the it “bizarre”, considering the fact that Sharon was responsible for the massacres in Sabra and Shatila. Read more (in Swedish): http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article18161000.ab.

“Sharon tried to make me a war criminal”

“I was a 19 year old parachutist in the Israeli army and my highest chief commander contravened International law by ordering us to purify Gaza from ‘terrorists without taking any prisoners’”, said Swedish-Israeli artist Dror Feiler, who became one of the first ‘refuseniks’, i.e. Israelis soldiers refusing to carry out services on occupied territory. Read more (in Swedish): http://debatt.svt.se/2014/01/13/min-general-var-en-krigsforbrytare/

“Sweden is one of best friends of Israeli occupation”

Sweden has changed from being one the most prominent critics of the Israeli occupation to be one of its best friends, writes Gunnar Olofsson in left-wing journal FiB. Read more (in Swedish): http://fib.se/utrikes/item/3774-klartext-fran-israel-ingen-fred.

Scarlet Johansson steps down as humanitarian ambassador

US actress Scarlett Johansson has parted from her role as ‘humanitarian ambassador’ for Oxfam because of a dispute over her work for SodaStream, a company operating in a West Bank settlement. Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/johansson-stepping-down-oxfam-ambassador. “Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador”, Oxfam said. Read more: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2358.

University of Hawai’i Ethnic Studies Department supports BDS

In December the University of Hawai’i Ethnic Studies Department announced its support for academic boycotts of Israel. In an open letter they wrote: “Native Hawaiians, too, live under conditions of colonization and occupation. In standing in solidarity with the USACBI movement, we recognize this as an opportunity to teach our students what it means to participate in a Boycott Movement”. Read more: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2319.

Angela Davis: ”Support BDS and Palestine will be free”

In January scholar and legendary activist Angela Davis talked about the struggle against Israeli apartheid and explained why transnational security corporation G4S should be boycotted. Watch the speech at: http://cdn1.electronicintifada.net/sites/electronicintifada.net/files/angela_davis_podcast.mp3.

Largest Dutch pension fund boycotts Israeli banks over settlement ties

The Netherlands’ largest pension fund company has decided to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements. Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy- defense/.premium-1.567548.

Germany conditions high-tech, science grants on settlement funding ban
The German government is conditioning continued grants to Israeli high-tech companies, as well as the renewal of a scientific cooperation agreement, on the inclusion of a territorial clause stating that Israeli entities located in West Bank settlements will not be eligible for funding. Israel fears this move will lead other EU member states to follow. Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy- defense/.premium-1.570071.

Another Italian Council condemns Pizzarotti over A1 train

On December 27, the town council of Villar Focchiardo, in the province of Torino, voted unanimously to approve a resolution condemning Pizzarotti & Co SpA of Parma for its involvement in the Israeli high-speed railway crossing the occupied West Bank. Read more: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/another-italian-council-condemns-pizzarotti-over-a1-train- 11662#sthash.Vi5Eivh3.dpuf.

Israel faces isolation with boycotts mounting, UK envoy warns

The British ambassador in Tel Aviv has warned Israel taht it faces increasing isolation. His comments came as reports emerged that Israeli banks are facing pressure from European pension funds over their role in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Read more: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali- abunimah/israel-faces-isolation-boycotts-mounting-uk-envoy- warns?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=d11ebba33d- RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-d11ebba33d-297297241

“We face South Africa-style isolation because of settlements”

If Israeli-Palestinian peace talks fail, Israel will be subjected to international isolation similar to that which brought about the collapse of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, said Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni recently. Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/livni-we-face-south-africa- style-isolation-because-of-settlements/. At a conference she noted that there was a growing international movement focused particularly on boycotting Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, Livni warned: “It won’t end there. The boycott is moving and advancing uniformly and exponentially … Those who don’t want to see it, will end up feeling it”. Read more: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/boycott-greatest-threat-facing-israel-leaders- say?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=ea270926cb- RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-ea270926cb-297297241.
A similar statement was made by finance minister Yair Lapid, who warned about the serious impact of growing BDS campaigns targeting Israel. “The world seems to be losing patience with us” Lapid told the Hebrew edition of Ynet on 10 January. Read more: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali- abunimah/growing-boycott-will-hit-each-us-pocket-warns-israel-finance- minister?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=dde4acd6b0- RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-dde4acd6b0-297297241.

“2013 the worst year in Palestine”

According to the Palestine Centre of Human Rights 2013 became the worst ever for human rights in Palestine since the occupation started 46 years ago, reports Göteborg activist Gunnar Olofsson. Read more (in Swedish): http://fib.se/utrikes/item/3739-varsta-aret-i-palestina

Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof Emer, dickurba@gmail.com
The Action group at KTH for boycott of Israel, http://psabi.se/ Member of the coordination committee of BDS Sweden, http://isoleraisrael.nu/