Norwegian Transport and Metal Unions Call for Boycott on Israel

The transport and metal workers unions in Norway yesterday issued an appeal to supermarkets and other food stores to boycott Israeli products in opposition to Israel's "aggressive and militaristic policy in the West Bank."

The transport and metal workers unions in Norway yesterday issued an appeal to supermarkets and other food stores to boycott Israeli products in opposition to Israel's "aggressive and militaristic policy in the West Bank."

Israel's Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the call, viewing it as a further manifestation of anti-Israel public sentiment abroad. "It is easier for us to deal with official condemnations than with a hostile atmosphere in the street," said Hanan Goder, head of the ministry's Scandanavia desk. "Our problem is with supermarkets that prefer not to deal with Israeli goods. Their hand has been strengthened, with their truck drivers now being encouraged not to transport Israeli goods. The damage has been done, even if the truck drivers don't respond to the call." The truckers union has threatened not to transport Israeli fruits and vegetables if importers continue to bring in such produce.

The appeal came after Coop Norge, which controls a quarter of the country's supermarkets, proposed a boycott of Israeli goods but backed down after its partners in Sweden and Denmark nixed the idea.

Earlier, the General Workers Union in Denmark, known by its acronym SiD, provoked a massive outcry from Jews in Denmark, Israel and elsewhere over the Internet after calling for a boycott of Israeli goods. The union published a list of Israeli goods and companies, as well as a list of importers of those goods, saying it wanted to "create pressure that would bring about a cessation of Israeli activities in the territories, a stop to settlement and serve to start the peace process."

Danish ambassador to Israel, Hans Michael Kofoed Hansen, stressed that the Danish government does not support the SiD's position. "In preparation for the debate in the European Parliament, the Danish government announced that it would not support trade measures against Israel." He stressed that unlike the Histadrut labor federation in Israel, the SiD, while being a major federation, is one of a number in the country.