Norwegian union angers Israel with boycott
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Norwegian union angers Israel with boycott

Labor union votes for blanket boycott of Jewish state, against recommendation of its leadership and country’s government

Illustrative photo of female Military Police officers checking the IDs and vehicles of Palestinians at the checkpoint at the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem, on December 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of female Military Police officers checking the IDs and vehicles of Palestinians at the checkpoint at the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem, on December 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

OSLO, Norway — Norway’s biggest trade union voted Friday in favor of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it “immoral.”

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favor of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.

LO, which also called for Norway to recognize a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticized by the government.

“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union’s decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.

Israel’s embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.

“This immoral resolution reflects deeply rooted attitudes of bias, discrimination and double standard towards the Jewish state,” Ambassador Raphael Schutz wrote in an email to AFP.

Noting that LO had also called for the dismantling of a barrier erected by Israel separating it from the Palestinian territories, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel.”

The US-based Anti Defamation League also denounced the decision.

“The vote for a full international boycott of Israel by the LO union not only reflects a deep bias against Israel and its active labor movement, but undermines efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “A vote in favor of boycotts, divestment and sanctions is a vote against the very legitimacy of the Jewish state.”

“We deeply appreciate and commend Foreign Minister Brende’s statement that this boycott vote is counterproductive and will do nothing to advance dialogue or improve cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians,” said Mr. Greenblatt.

Norway hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the early 1990s that led to the Oslo peace accords.

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