Swedish Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Newsletter No 33, 2 August 2014

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. Find old issues of the newsletter here, and in Swedish here.

■ Big demonstrations in Swedish cities against Israel’s war on Gaza

Since Israel started its war against Gaza the Swedish solidarity movement has carried out several big demonstrations every week. One of the main demands has been “Boycott Israel”. With reference to the refusal of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to do anything except appealing for ceasefire demonstrators are also shouting “Bildt hypocrite”(alluding to the fact that he promotes sanctions against many countries but not Israel).


■ Sweden buys arms from Israel

The same weapons system that is installed in the JAS 39 Gripen airplane is used in the Israeli attacks against Gaza. “Through its arms trade with Israel Sweden contributes to the Israeli war machine, which just now seems to violate international law and result in war crimes, according to a report by Human Rights Watch”, says Anna Ek of the Swedish peace organisation Svenska Freds. Swedish law does not allow the sale of Swedish arms to countries engaged in war. Paradoxically the ban does not apply to import of arms. Read more.


■ Sweden must stop its military collaboration with Israel

In an article in the Swedish paper Aftonbladet Professor Mattias Gardell asks Sweden to break its military collaboration with Israel and go for boycott, as it once did against apartheid South Africa. He also criticised a statement made by the Social-Democratic leader Stefan Lövén. Gardell wrote that one must “not remain ‘neutral’ when the rights of vulnerable groups are violated” (being previous Soc. Dem. policy), read more (In Swedish). In a leaflet by the local network in Malmö the same demand (arms embargo) is called for, adding that Israel can continue to attack the population of Gaza only because of substantial military collaboration with Israel, not only by USA but also Brazil, China and India.


■ Israel violates international law”

In an article in Dagens Nyheter 25 July the General Secretary of the Swedish Bar Association Anne Ramberg writes that Israel is violating international law because of its discrimination of Palestinians and because of the present Gaza war. She writes: “Repeated crimes against Human Rights take place daily. In spite of this governments of the world have been remarkably passive during too many years. This applies also to the Swedish government. The fact that (Foreign Minister) Carl Bildt condemns the ground invasion of Gaza is not enough”. Ramberg writes further: “This is the third time Israel directs severe violence against Gaza within six years. In addition Israel has imposed a blockade during seven years and isolated Gaza. The effects are devastating not only for the economy and the infrastructure. The suffering of the civilian population cannot be measured in figures”read more in Swedish.


■ Stop the Gaza blockade, free political prisoners, cancel the EU agreement with Israel

In a letter 22 July to Swedish EU parliamentarians and MPs the organisation No to EU writes that the blockade of Gaza must stop, that all Palestinian political prisoners should be released and that the EU trade agreement with Israel must be cancelled, read more in Swedish

■ Author Mankell snubs Israel’s ambassador

In an article published in Aftonbladet the famous author Henning Mankell (active in Ship to Gaza) refutes the arguments put forward by the Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Among others Mankell writes that USA allocates three billion dollars to the Israeli armed forces, adding that Israel could not exist without USA. He further notes that Sweden is complicit in this by guaranteeing loans to USA, read more in Swedish.

■ Israel wages a holy war

Quoting leading Israeli politicians, activist Gunnar Olofsson shows that many Israelis regard the Gaza attack as a holy war against an inferior people. This view is also common in Western Europe, he adds, and continues: “The view that Palestinians are inferior is a remnant, like a cancerous disease from the days of King Leopold, among many leading politicians in the West”, read more in Swedish.


■ “Israel needs external pressure to change”

In a radio programme on the 1st of August the Swedish-Israeli artist and activist Dror Feiler argued that Sweden must act for the isolation of Israel in order to stop the occupation and to have the settler colonies withdrawn. Feiler has been a frequent speaker at rallies. He is the President of European Jews For a Just Peace


■ Swedish intellectual Göran Rosenberg gives up hope for Israel

In a column in the big Swedish paper Expressen the prominent Swedish (and ex-Israeli) writer Göran Rosenberg states that he no longer believes in an Israeli-Palestinian peace on fair terms. He writes: “I think that Israel is turning into an apartheid state with two blatantly unequal judicial systems; one justice for lawless Jewish settlers, another for outlawed Palestinians”, read more in Swedish.

■ Nobel peace laureates and celebrities call for military embargo on Israel 

100 internationally well-known figures, including six Nobel Peace Laureates, have called for a military embargo on Israelread more. To sign the appeal, go here.

■ Israeli academics condemn the slaughter of the Palestinian people

On the 17th of July 45 Israeli academics published an appeal that Israel must stop the killing of innocent people, agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement, hread more.

■ Critical Ethnic Studies Association supports academic boycott

On 18 July the US based Critical Ethnic Studies Association joined other academic bodies by passing a resolution endorsing the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, read more.

■ The African Literature Association supports boycott

At a meeting in Johannesburg, the independent non-profit African Literature Association decided to supports the academic boycott of Israeli institutions, read more.

■ Many countries ask Israeli ambassadors to leave

Following nationwide protests across South Africa against the Israeli attacks on Gaza South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, has called for the Israeli ambassador to leave with immediate effect. Read the full statement here. Also governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Turkey and Venezuela have taken such decisions.


■ A global hip-hop call for Israel boycott

The ongoing slaughter in Gaza has brought many artists out in support of Palestine. This includes a consortium of hip-hop notables, read more.

■ Dublin city council calls for Israel sanctions

On the 18th of July the Dublin city council passed a motion calling for trade sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel in response to its murderous rampage in Gaza, condemning it as “the third massive attack on a largely defenseless civilian population of 1.8 million people in five and half years”, read more.


■ Withdraw economic collaboration with Israeli business

In a letter to the Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen the Norwegian network for academic and cultural boycott of Israel (Akulbi) urges the government to stop Norwegian oil funds and other business to withdraw its investments in Israel and abide by international law, read more. Akulbi also wages a campaign to stop Norwegian theatre collaboration with Israel, read more in Norwegian.


Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and others denounce Israeli ‘genocide’ in open letter

Dozens of Spanish film stars, directors, musicians and writers have denounced Israel’s incursion into Gaza. Pedro Almodovar and Spanish industry representatives urge the EU to condemn the bombing of Palestinian civilians, read more.

■ Join 9000 calling on Jazz musicians to boycott Israel!

By the 30th of July 9000 persons had signed the petition asking invited musicians to cancel their participation in the festival. Sign the petition  here.



Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof Emer, dickurba@gmail.com

The Action Group at KTH for boycott of Israel

Member of the coordination committee of BDS Sweden