Swedish Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Newsletter No 34, 20 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.

The Action Group continues to pressure the Swedish Government to react against the Israeli illegal settlement policy

■ Stop EU research support to Israeli occupation
In an article Jan-Erik Gustafson of the Action Group at KTH for Boycott of Israel shows that €245 million of the EU research program Horizon 2020 is destined for cooperation with Israel. Collaboration is scheduled with the companies Elbit and Israel Aerospace. A large sum goes to the development of drones, i.e. unmanned vehicles for killing people and destroying buildings on occupied territory. Israel participates in no less than 45 “security projects” with Israel, more than any of the EU members. In this way EU helps Israel to oppress Palestinians and violate international law, the article ends.

■ Ship to Gaza: Sweden should act to lift the blockade of Gaza
In an article 12 July in the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter Dror Feiler and Ann Inghe of Ship to Gaza wrote that the Swedish government must take a lead to lift the blockade of Gaza, even if this is “far from sufficient for a durable and fair peace”, read more in Swedish.

■ Social-democratic leaders: boycott goods from the settlements and lift the blockade!
On the 26th of July the four Nordic social-democratic party leaders made a statement demanding a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. They also proposed international military presence in Gaza, read more . In response to this the Swedish minister of foreign affairs Carl Bildt said: “I should have been tougher in demanding the lifting of the blockade”. He also said he wants to see EU observers along the Gaza borders.

■ “Bring the responsible persons to court”
In an article in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter 2 August 20 lawyers, researchers and NGO representatives wrote that Israel violates international law by punishing the Gaza population collectively. Referring to the Geneva Convention the authors requested the international community to bring the ones responsible to court and that the attempts to block the International Court of Justice from doing its duty must stop, read more in Swedish.

■ Five Swedish trade unions: boycott products from illegal settlements!
In a statement 4 August five Swedish trade unions condemned Israel’s war in Gaza and appealed for solidarity with victims of the Israeli policy. The union leaders wrote: “It is quite reasonable for the world to respond by boycotting products from occupied territory- – – As long as the capital interests and political strategies are not disturbed, the slaughter can continue”, read more.

■ “The massacres in Gaza not in Israel’s interest”
In a reply to Israeli Ambassador Isaac Bachman in Stockholm 11 August the Swedish-Israeli theatre producer (in Jenin, West Bank) Jonatan Stanczak wrote that Bachman is doing Israel a disfavour by legitimizing the massacre of 2000 people in Gaza. “I believe in non-violence and therefore I demand boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel with the purpose to make (the Israeli) people wake up and realize that it is not possible to oppress another people for half a century without consequences”, he said, read more in Swedish.

■ “Sweden should put higher demands on Israel”
In an appeal in SvD Opinion 35 Swedish academics wrote: “Until the European Union starts to work for peace in the region (Israel-Palestine), especially by requesting Israel to take clear steps to end occupation and the blockade of Gaza, we question the economic collaboration with Israel. We want the Swedish government and business community to take a clear position on this issue”, read more in Swedish.

■ Vote NO to Israel’s application to host the European Football championship 2020
In an appeal the Danish Boycott Israel network asks the Danish participants in the UEFA meeting in Geneva the 19th of September to vote No to Israel’s application, read more in Danish.

■ Alice Walker, Bolivian president and others join Latin American boycott call
High-profile political figures from Latin America and elsewhere have signed a strongly worded statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people. It also calls for BDS. Among the signatories are US author Alice Walker, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Fidel Castro of Cuba and deposed President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, read more.

■ UK’s student union condemns Israel, calls for arms embargo
Monday 5 August, the Executive body of the British National Union of Students voted for an arms embargo against Israel, read more.

■ Israeli play expelled from Edinburgh venue as Scots protest against Gaza attack
Campaigners in Scotland succeeded in pressuring the organizers of an arts festival into removing the Israeli state-funded Incubator Theatre Company from a city centre venue in Edinburgh. A spokesperson for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said public support for the protest was “overwhelming” and that it reflected the “revulsion over what is happening in Gaza”, read more.

■ Over 400 Middle East studies scholars call for BDS
In a letter over 400 Middle East scholars express support for the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions, read more. Sign the appeal here.

■ South Asian diaspora network condemns Israel, endorsing boycott
At its recent meeting the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) in
Canada demanded a halt to the ongoing Israeli attacks on and blockade of Gaza and endorses the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, read more.

■ Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith groups demand US stop arming Israel
More than two dozen faith groups representing Christians, Muslims and Jews are calling for an arms embargo on Israel and an end to the $3.1 billion a year in military aid the US gives to the country, read more.

■ 150,000 marched for Gaza on the streets of London
On the 9th of August the biggest demonstration yet was held in London against Israel’s massacres in Gaza. People from across Britain, including trade unionists, people of faith, MPs and NGOs came to speak out against the deadly assault and the blockade, read more.

■ Grassroots civil society must act to hold Israel accountable
“If governments refuse to act, then the vast international support that Israel enjoys must be tackled by international grassroots civil society, using the methods that isolated South Africa during apartheid”, Palestinian human rights activist Rafeef Ziadeh wrote at the end of July, read more?

■ Boycott from Within: Letter to the UN on Israeli genocide
In an open letter to the UN the Israeli BDS organisation Boycott from Within charges Israel with genocide in Gaza and demands that the International Criminal Court investigate and prosecute those responsible. The letter ends: “We demand that you take immediate action to prevent Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people”, read more.

■ 10,000 protest in Tel Aviv for an end to occupation
Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the 16th of August for an anti-war demonstration, read more.

■ International Institute of Social Studies in the Hague staff endorse BDS
In a letter to the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister staff and researchers of the International Institute of Social Studies in the Hague urges that the Dutch government employs means that are internationally recognized as legitimate, namely boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, read more.

■ South Korean public figures signed petition against Israel’s massacre’ in Gaza
Over 100 prominent public South Korean figures have called on the South Korean government to halt arms sales to Israel, read more.

■ Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce as boycotts surge
Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians, read more.