Ikea attempts to dodge responsibility for Israel store’s discriminatory delivery practices

Ikea shows no intention of ending delivery of its products to Israel’s illegal settlement colonies in the West Bank, a 10 December letter from the furniture giant shows.

For years, Ikea has been facilitating the delivery of products from its Israeli stores to residents of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Ikea has been informed several times that facilitation of such transport services boils down to complicity with Israel’s settlement colony enterprise.

Ikea was asked by the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to respond to the fact that Ikea in Israel’s transport company, Moviley Dror, delivers to Israeli settlements but refuses to deliver products to Palestinian population centers in the occupied West Bank, as I reported on my Electronic Intifada blog last month.

In its response (which can be downloaded fromt the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre website), Ikea attempts to evade responsibility for this blatant discrimination and normalization of an illegal situation and fails to address its delivery to Israel’s West Bank settlements. The company simply states that its local franchisee is responsible for the local management, investments and business decisions related to the Ikea stores in Israel.

Ikea repeats its claim that in 2010, the Israeli franchisee arranged for home delivery of Ikea products to people living in the areas controlled by the “Palestinian Authorities.” But as The Electronic Intifada reported last month, Moviley Dror refuses to deliver to Beit Sahour, claiming that the Bethlehem-area Palestinian village was too dangerous (but passing through Israeli checkpoints to deliver to the Beitar Illit settlement proved to be no problem).

“If there has been occasions when the delivery service has not worked as intended it is regrettable and something we will look into,” the company states in its 10 December letter. Although Ikea regrets the discriminatory practices of its Israeli franchise it offered no remedy.

It seems as if Ikea refuses to understand the difference between the indigenous Palestinians who live in their West Bank under Israel’s illegal occupation, and the Israeli settlers who illegally reside in that area.

Ikea “not convincing,” says expert

I asked Dr. Jeff Handmaker, senior lecturer in law, human rights and development at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, for a comment on Ikea’s response. He wrote me in a 20 December email:

Inter IKEA Systems B.V., in their response to Business and Human Rights, only address half of the problem, namely their differential treatment of settlers living in illegal settlements and Palestinians living under occupation.

But even this is not convincing. Even if the IKEA franchisee were to resolve the issue of delivery to Palestinians, most are not be able to visit their stores to Israel’s control of movement into and out of the occupied territories and so they are excluded either way.

However, IKEA Systems B.V. are not addressing the main problem, namely their franchisee’s overt complicity in a serious human rights violation, lending support to the settlement enterprise.

Unless IKEA’s franchisee refuses to sell, let alone deliver products to settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories, IKEA Systems B.V. is still fully complicit in violations of international law.



Adri Nieuwhof's picture

In July 2010, I wrote about how Ikea was threatened with boycott by the Wiesenthal Center because the company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, was a member of the fascist New Swedish Movement in the 1940s.
Read: http://electronicintifada.net/...

I have no information about a relation between Kamprad and Israel. In my articles, I focus on Ikea's role in Israel's illegal settlements..

The reluctance of Europeans to criticize Israel for its violations of international law is mainly related to feelings of guilt for what happened during the Holocaust when European governments and citizens failed to protect Jewish fellow citizens. Feelings of guilt are justified, but are no excuse for condoning of or lending support to Israel's violations of rights of the Palestinian people.


Adri, I didn't relate the IKEA-Founder directly to Israel, but just let me recall that Nahum Goldmann, the presidnet of the Jewish Claims Conference, when asked in an interview if it hadn't been difficult for him to deal in the "reparations case" with people who had played a role during the Nazi-rule in Germany, he answered that "in his experiance those people had been rather easy to treat with" (in an interview-book, rororo-aktuell, paperback)


The Europeans have never been reluctant to criticize Israel and side with the arabs for commercial gain. There are no feelings of guilt, what nonsense, they would do it all again if they could.


an important book, indeed. I understand David, when he writes about "Europe's Alliance with Israel" to mean European governments. Things probably would change a lot if he wrote about "the people". Being a german national, living in France, I know what I'am talking about, as supposetly does David, in Bruxelles.


What is your argument? I cannot see your response to Nahum Goldman's saying! You should not misuse the serious debate. If you cannot notice feelings of guilt, there is little help for you. But, guilt always will be subjected to eval-doers. Whom are you talking about?


European governments take a very different attitude than do European people. As an Israeli having lived in Germany for 10 years and watched Eurabia develop , I also know what I'm talking about.

Adri Nieuwhof

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Adri Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands and former anti-apartheid activist at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Twitter: @steketeh