Norway’s Largest Trade Organization Endorses Boycott of Israel

BDS activists in Norway

LO, the largest labor union in Norway, has endorsed a full boycott of Israel.  

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) endorsed on Friday a full boycott of Israel.

LO, the largest umbrella organization of labor in Norway, voted 197 to 117 in favor of an international economic, cultural, and academic boycott against Israel.

The boycott does not differentiate between the rest of Israel and Judea and Samaria, which is often the target of boycotts.

The Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) National Committee (BNC) welcomed the LO’s decision.

Riya Hassan, the BNC’s Europe campaigns coordinator, described LO’s endorsing of a full “international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel” as “a necessary means to achieve Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right of return for the refugees and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

The BNC said it hopes to translate the resolution into effective measures of accountability at the academic, cultural, and economic levels.

“We also call on LO to apply pressure on the Norwegian government to end all its military ties with Israel’s regime of oppression and to divest its sovereign fund from all companies that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and illegal settlement enterprise,” it said.

With this step, LO joins several other trade federations from around the world, including South Africa’s COSATU, Brazil’s CUT, Quebec’s CSN, and the Irish ICTU.

Shoulder to Shoulder with the Worst Enemies of Israel

Norway’s political leadership expressed its opposition to the measure.

“The Norwegian government strongly opposes the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Union’s decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende tweeted after the vote.

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

“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 also called for the dismantling of a security barrier erected by Israel, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel.”

The leader of Norway’s Labor Party, the main political opposition party, also expressed opposition to the boycott resolution, even though LO and Labor are traditional allies.

Jonas Gahr Store, who leads the left-leaning Labor, said the move by LO would not bring progress on a political solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

LO, with more than 900,000 affiliated workers, has supported Labor, Norway’s largest party, for decades.

The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.” Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
AP contributed to this report.

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Source: United with Israel