Swedish city Gothenburg aims to ban Israeli imports over occupation

The proposed boycott would also target any purchases linked to Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, as well as imports from Russia over its invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine.

The governing coalition in Sweden’s second-largest city has proposed phasing out all purchases of goods originating from countries accused of illegally occupying other states, including Israel over its control of the Palestinian territories.

According to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the proposal put forward by a coalition including the Swedish Social Democratic Party, Left Party and the Green Party seeks to ban imports from Israel as well as Russia and Morocco on ethical grounds.

The proposal, if approved, would mark one of the most significant boycott measures taken by a European city against Israel over its 55-year military rule over the Palestinian territories seized in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is considered illegal under international law.

However, outright bans on Israeli imports or investments are relatively rare moves by European governments due to domestic opposition and the risk of being perceived as fueling rising anti-Semitism.

The proposed boycott would also target any purchases linked to Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, as well as imports from Russia over its invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine.

News of Gothenburg’s proposal drew swift condemnation from Israel and its supporters as amounting to an “anti-Semitic” boycott of the world’s only Jewish-majority state.

Swedish Ambassador to Israel Annika Ben David reacted by saying that boycott of this kind is a clear violation of Sweden’s commitment to combat discrimination and to stand up for free trade.

However, Palestinian officials and rights groups praised the proposal as an important, ethical stance against entrenched human rights abuses and military occupations.

The Gothenburg proposal would need to be approved by the city council before being implemented. It remains uncertain if the controversial move would stand up to potential legal challenges on discrimination grounds.