Sweden’s new Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is not anti-Semitic, but rather a legitimate and non-violent movement.
According to the website of Yediot Ahronoth, Linde’s remarks were enough to irritate Israel, like former Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, who resigned from her post earlier last month.
In an interview with Swedish television, Linde indicated that she does not support boycotts, or boycotting trade and cooperation with Israel.
However, she asserted that “boycotts are a legitimate political means as part of a non-violent political struggle for human rights, democracy, freedom of expression, and ending the occupation.”
Linde stressed that her country supports organisations that attack the Israeli occupation.
The new foreign minister, who visited Israel several times, conveyed that her country’s government does not support boycotting Israel.
However, she stated that the BDS movement has the right to represent its positions, noting that the Swedish government does not see any similarity between the BDS campaign and Anti-Semitic activities.
Responding to allegations by other Swedish MPs that the boycott movement is anti-semitic Linde explained that “Sweden and the EU support civil society organisations that are active in various ways to advance democracy and human rights, both in Israel and in Palestine.”
“We support these organisations to advance their contribution to a free and pluralistic society. It is not because we support the boycott movement or its activists,” she said.
Linde also dealt with relations between Sweden and Israel, saying it was “important to normalise relations between the two countries,” adding that she would like to pay an official visit to Israel while stressing the need for her country to have good relations with the Palestinians as well.
She said that Israel cannot continue to occupy land in a way that contravenes the law. Palestinians equally have the right to live in safety within recognised boundaries.
According to the website Yediot Ahronoth, Israel has boycotted former Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom following statements it deemed “anti-Israel”.
Wallstrom had called for launching an investigation into crimes committed against the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation army without being held accountable or tried, linking the terrorist attack on Paris with the state of desperation experienced by the Palestinian people.
The website also reported that the first step taken by Wallstrom upon entering the ministry was to recognise the Palestinian state. Therefore, Israel considered her as “an undesirable personality”, rejecting her requests to visit Israel.”
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