IKEA to Open Store in Israel
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ The Swedish home furnishing supplier IKEA, which has been criticized by Jewish groups, said Monday a subsidiary will open a store in Israel.
IKEA had come under fire for its founder’s fascist associations in the 1940s and allegations it went along with an Arab boycott of the Jewish state.
Company spokesman Staffan Jeppsson said in Copenhagen that the Dutch-based Inter IKEA Systems B.V., a franchising company, will open the store in Israel. IKEA Systems owns the rights to run IKEA stores in many countries, though the furniture and merchandise are the same everywhere.
Jeppsson’s comments on the company’s plans confirmed a statement last week from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
IKEA’s decision ``will put another nail in the coffin of the Arab economic boycott of the Jewish state,″ said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal center.
IKEA owns about 100 stores around the world and has sold franchise rights to 25 others, including four stores in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
IKEA’s policies have been scrutinized by Jewish groups since company founder Ingvar Kamprad last year admitted he associated with Swedish fascist groups immediately after World War II. Kamprad, 69, said he bitterly regretted that ``mistake of a misguided youth.″
Kamprad opened his first store in Sweden in 1958. His chain sells unassembled, inexpensive furniture in large warehouse-style spaces.