Sweden’s ambassador to Israel has rejected claims that the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign is ‘antisemitic’, and said that there is a tendency in Israel to “demonise” his country and its approach to the conflict.
Ambassador Magnus Hellgren, speaking to i24NEWS, said that “since our recognition [of Palestinian statehood] in 2014, my impression is that whatever my boss [Sweden’s foreign minister] says is interpreted in a very negative way and a little bit twisted”.
Hellgren claimed that “there is a conscious decision to try to demonize Sweden” to discourage other states from adopting similar positions.
The ambassador also explained that the decision to recognise a Palestinian was taken because “it was felt in Sweden that the prospects of a two-state solution were slipping away”.
Hellgren also explained that, while the Swedish government does not “believe in trade boycotts or political boycotts”, he did not consider the BDS campaign to be antisemitic. “They [BDS activists] would say this is a means to put an effort on Israel to end the occupation”, he said.
Read: BDS’ effect on Israel