Swedish supermarket chain cancels boycott of Israeli products

The COOP supermarket chain in Sweden has cancelled a planned boycott of Israeli products. Credit: Skandy-pictures via Flickr.com.

The COOP supermarket chain in Sweden has cancelled a planned boycott of Israeli products. Credit: Skandy-pictures via Flickr.com.

(JNS.org) COOP, a national supermarket chain in Sweden, has backed out of a planned boycott of the sale of Israeli products.

Several months ago, a pro-Palestinian proposal to boycott Israeli products was accepted by a majority vote in a local consumers' assembly. But Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman, along with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, were able to get the supermarket chain to cancel the boycott. 

"We didn't talk about the righteousness of Israel, rather we spoke in the name of fair trade and avoiding discrimination [against] any state," Bachman said, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

A grassroots effort by pro-Israel activists on Swedish social media had urged cancellation of the boycott, while the country's Israeli embassy published the contact information of the supermarket chain’s executives, encouraging the public to contact them and voice their opposition to the planned boycott. Thousands of people threatened to boycott COOP if it went through with the boycott of Israel.

“There was a great protest. A lot of people here are against boycotts," Bachman said. The supermarket’s executives "were shocked by the volume of messages they received,” which led them to make the decision to cancel the boycott, he added.
 
"The lesson I learned is that we must not, under absolutely no circumstances, give up, and we must launch a counter-campaign," Bachman added. "If you go for the consumer side, without getting into the issue of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, your story would be better and stronger.” 

Posted on June 18, 2015 .