On Sunday 31 October 2010, 25 persons gathered in the town center of Gothenburg, Sweden, to demonstrate support for the 80 activists in France who face legal charges for racist hate crimes because they have called for boycott of Israel. It is Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l’Antisémitisme and the government of France that is conducting a campaign to criminalise such hand-outs of flyers, wearing of t-shirts, and sticker marking of goods from Israel.

Dressed in similar t-shirts as the French activists, the support protest was initiated with a gathering around posters with messages such as “to boycott Israel is not racist” and “freedom of expression for Sakina [Arnaud]”. Thereafter, the protest group marched through the town center and visited two grocery stores that, despite Israel’s occupation of Palestine, have Israeli goods in their assortment. Finally, H&M’s establishment of several stores in Israel was highlighted as the protest group marched through the flagship store and handed out flyers outside the entrance.

Today’s support protest could have been prosecuted if it had been carried out in France. It is in Sweden and EU legitimate and legal to critisise states for their crimes against international law and to recommend boycott and sanction until they act law-abidingly. But French citizens are being deprived of this right — when the state is Israel. It is also worrying that citizens of Sweden and EU risk prosecution and punishment if they participate in BDS activism in France.

More info: