Our very own Danish cartoons: will Israelis boycott ABBA?

Posted: August 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, media | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »
Haaretz's daily cartoon, by Amos Biderman

Haaretz's daily cartoon, by Amos Biderman

The campaign in Israel against Sweden following the article in Aftonbladet, which claimed that IDF soldiers harvested the organs of Palestinians they killed, is looking more and more like the Muslim world’s reaction to the Danish Cartoons. Back than, the dangerous point was reached when the public protest over the cartoons turned into an official policy of Arab governments. In Israel, the government didn’t even wait for the rest of the public.

After both Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and PM Benjamin Netanyahu demanded an apology from the Swedish government (Netanyahu said he would settle for an unofficial condemnation of the Aftonbladet piece, but Liberman is still insisting that the Swedish government would take official steps against the paper, like it was some third-world dictatorship), Israeli citizens have responded, and are now organizing a boycott on Swedish companies, most notably Ericsson, Volvo, H&M and IKEA (a comment on Ynet.co.il news site seriously suggested that if you can’t avoid buying in IKEA, at least steal the pencil they give you at the entrance). Some Israelis still listen to ABBA, but this might change soon as well.

Liberman went even further yesterday: after his tasteless reference to the Swedish behavior during the Holocaust, he added Norway to his list of anti-Semitic regimes (it’s time for Finland to start worrying). The reason: the marking of the 150 years anniversary of the birth of Knut Hamson, the well known writer who was, in his last years, a Nazi sympathizer. These embarrassing comments – Hamson is taught in Israeli schools - made front pages in all the daily papers in Israel both today and yesterday.

In a sense, I find it appropriate that Avigdoer Liberman is our foreign minister. His combination of Xenophobia and populism is much more suitable to represent the current Israeli mood than the diplomatic tones of Shimon Peres. The real problem is the political effect of his conduct. One can guess that IKEA will survive the Israeli boycott (judging from the way most Israeli homes look today, it’s us that might not make it without them), but this “whole world is against us” attitude is bound to lead Israel to some dangerous places.

UPDATE: the extreme right wing movement “Im Tirtzu” organized this evening a protest of a few dozens people in front of the Swedish embassy in Tel Aviv. There were thousands protesting in Cairo and Gaza after the cartoon was published in Denmark, but that’s about the only difference.

4 Comments on “Our very own Danish cartoons: will Israelis boycott ABBA?”

  1. 1 Craig said at 7:13 am on August 24th, 2009:

    Oh, Avigdor Lieberman is the perfect foreign minister for Israel. In time he might even become the perfect prime minister if he isn’t prosecuted for corruption first. I call him perfect not because I approve of his views or policies, but simply because he represents the truth of Israel in a direct and honest way, without the lies and political game-playing characteristic of Netanyahu and previous PMs. His views aren’t really any different from theirs; he’s just more honest about them.

  2. 2 David said at 7:55 am on August 24th, 2009:

    Craig, arguing for an FM or PM with poor impulse control and an “inability to play nicely with others” is probably not going to win many to your argument.

  3. 3 Adam Ehad said at 3:18 am on August 25th, 2009:

    I’m not sure that it’s necessary to be quite so self-hating about this. Of course it is abhorrent when the Israelis start acting like the Muslims – as you yourself pointed out – but to suggest that simply because our government is upset about the issue that they suddenly resemble the ranting, fatwa-issuing governments of neighbouring countries is simplistic to the point of simple untruth. Libermen has obviously gone too far – as usual – but since when has a governments concern about its own self-image been the domain of third-world totalitarianism?

  4. 4 Rehmat said at 11:15 am on August 30th, 2009:

    Avigdor Lieberman, Israel FM – made his own stupid ‘Jew-hating Swedish’ remark, saying: “The article was part of defaming the Jews… Sweden did nothing while Nazis were killing the Jews.” Now, I am sure that it would be waste of my time to remind the Zionist thug that 150,000 German Jews were part of the Nazi Army.

    Israel is planning some actions to teach the Swedes some lessons about the ‘Freedom of Expression’, ‘Democracy’, and ‘for making political wrong statement’. First of it may cancel Carl Bildt’s schedule visit to Israel, sue the author of the article, Donald Bostrom, and recall its Ambassador, Benny Dagan, from Sweden. In February, Benny was hit by shoes and books during his speech at the Stockholm University when he deviated from the topic of his speech and started spreading Zionist propaganda lies about Hamas and Islamic Iran.