By Shiryn Ghermezian
Supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement descended on stores in Malmo, Sweden on Sunday to intimidate owners into dropping Israeli products.
“Join Malmö’s Apartheid Inspectors when they visit stores and companies around Malmö to investigate dangerous levels of apartheid-supporting products!” a Swedish BDS website said in advance of the initiative. “Support the inspectors to inform shop-owners and consumers on how they through consumer-boycott can push for apartheid-free zones.”
Swedish commentator Luke Berggren spoke out against the event, blogger Elder of Ziyon reported. Berggren said ”there seems to be no distinction between Israel criticism and pure hatred of Jews. Talk about apartheid.” Berggren further encouraged Swedes to support the purchase of Israeli products and ask retailers to carry more items made in the Jewish state.
“Many shopkeepers will be pressured to not buy Israeli goods. Let us do the opposite. Ask your retailer for Israeli goods. And buy Israeli goods,” he said. “Boycotts of this kind suffered by Jews and is another worrying sign of the growing antisemitism. We can not accept this.”
Member of Parliament Hanif Bali said he hopes the BDS movement and its “different opinions” do not threaten Malmö’s Jewish population. Elder of Ziyon cited him saying, “Historically, the left has had difficulty distinguishing criticism of the state of Israel with pure racism against Jews…”
Bali also rejected allegations of Israeli apartheid, though he said he believes there is discrimination in the Jewish state. He explained: “Apartheid is based on an ethnic specific legislation, that it would treat the Israelis by Palestinian background differently, and that does not happen. Certainly there is discrimination, but we have that in Sweden too, but we don’t call it apartheid.”
The Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden calculated that half of the country’s 20,000 Jews live in Stockholm, The Times of Israel reported in January. Lena Posner-Koerosi, a spokesperson for the organization, said the number of threats against Swedish Jews has doubled since the Paris terror attack in January at the Charlie Hedbo headquarters and the killing of four people in a kosher supermarket.