Swedish co-op forces local branch to drop Israel boycott

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The central board of a Swedish food co-operative voided a popular vote to boycott Israeli products at one of its affiliates.

The decision to reverse the boycott motion was taken last week by the main board of the Coop chain of food stores after members of a branch in Varberg, a small city located 260 miles southwest of Stockholm, voted in favor of the boycott last month, the Expressen daily reported.

In its reversal, the central board wrote that boycotting produce from certain countries may violate the charter of Coop, an international chain of food stores where many branches have semi-autonomous boards and general assemblies.

The Coop of Varberg voted in 2011 to boycott all settlement goods but voted again to broaden that boycott motion earlier this month, Expressen reported.


After the vote to boycott all Israeli products, Kent Wennberg, president of the Varberg branch, said he did not agree with the vote to boycott Israel, but was powerless to reverse it.

“We should not take any political standpoints, but we have to follow what the members say. That is what we have to abide by. We cannot do much about it,” he said.

The central board’s decision to walk away from the boycott was followed by initiatives on social media by people who called for a boycott of Coop to retaliate for its anti-Israel policy.