Israeli-Finnish relations are reported to be strained after Finland prevented the Jewish National Fund from participating in the exhibition of non-governmental organisations held annually in the capital, Helsinki, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.

The newspaper pointed out that the exhibition, which is funded by the Red Cross and the European Union, will be held next week and will focus its activity on both Africa and the Middle East.

Maariv added that the Jewish National Fund had permission to participate in the exhibition, however it recently received a notice prohibiting it from joining because of “the existence of question marks on the legitimacy of its activities”.

In the wake of this, two Jewish organisations announced they would be boycotting the exhibition.

Vice-Chair of ICAHD Finland (Finnish branch of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) Syksy Räsänen, who campaigned for the JNF to be excluded from the exhibition, wrote on Facebook: “I am very satisfied with the decision as a victory for the BDS movement.”

The newspaper said the Finnish decision sparked anger in Israel. The Israeli ambassador in Helsinki spoke with Finnish officials in the foreign ministry, but they responded that “it is a private event that the Finnish foreign ministry has no impact on” despite the fact that the ministry is one of the sponsors.

In the wake of the Finnish response, the Israeli ambassador accused Finland of anti-Semitism.

Source: Middle East Monitor