JERUSALEM, Israel - Israelis signed an Internet petition calling for a consumer boycott of Swedish-owned companies in Israel, including IKEA, Volvo, and the H&M clothing chain, to protest last week's article in a Swedish newspaper accusing IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers of trafficking in Palestinian organs.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on the Swedish government to condemn the incident. But Sweden's prime minister and foreign minister refused him, citing freedom of the press.
Following Sweden's response, 27-year-old archaeology student Moran Hajbi, a former IDF Golani Brigades soldier living in Mitzpe Yericho, said he felt the need to respond to the incident.
"I am simply a citizen who cares and I cannot stand idly by in light of the publication of the Swedish blood libel," Hajbi said.
The Web site included an explanation with the petition.
"After the anti-Semitic blood publication and the blood libel against IDF soldiers and the refusal of Sweden's foreign minister and prime minister to condemn this report, there is no way we can continue buying products made in Sweden. Real action is needed," the statement read.
Hajbi said he had signed petitions in the past, but this is the first time he initiated one himself.
"In the past, I only signed petitions but didn't initiate them," he said. "I am in shock by the number of people who signed and positively surprised, but I hope this isn't just an empty statement," he said.
"There is a big difference between sitting behind a computer screen and signing and actually doing something. I, in any case, am done with Swedish products," Hajbi said.
Comments posted on the Web site indicated that others agreed with him.
"It's time for the people of Israel to vote with their pockets," a woman from Petah Tikva wrote.
Another man from Rishon Lezion outside of Tel Aviv got rid of a cabinet he had purchased from IKEA.
"Yesterday I threw away a cabinet I had brought from IKEA. From an ethical point of view, I cannot own a product manufactured by a Swedish company encouraging anti-Semitism. I'm choosing to boycott them too," he said.
IKEA's does some 300 million shekels (more than $78 million) in annual sales in Israel.
Source: Ynet news