I guess we showed them

Posted: October 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

This is getting too ridiculous: after fighting with Norway and boycotting Sweden, Israelis are now mad at Turkey, following some TV show there and a few remarks by their PM that could hint he has some sympathy towards the Palestinians (Anti-Semite!).

The popular coffee shop chain I’lan’s has decided not to sell Turkish coffee anymore. Director of marketing for Ilan’s, Michal Shteg, told Ynet that:

“Like all Israelis, we were shocked to see films that showed IDF soldiers allegedly shooting kids. We believe that everyone can contribute in his own way, and that’s our modest way.”

Calm down, Naomi Klein. At this rate, Israelis will take care of the international boycott themselves.

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.