LO defied their new leader – wants to boycott Israel
First day on the job as LO leader ended in a bitter defeat for Hans-Christian Gabrielsen. Despite clear warnings the LO Congress advocates a boycott against Israel.
– Our solidarity with the Palestinian people is as strong as the foundations of the People’s House, said Gabrielsen, before warning against the consequences of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
– This will affect Palestinian workers and Palestinian trade unions, said the newly elected LO boss.
He was ignored. With 193 against 117 votes the LO Congress voted for the proposal by the minority in the editorial committee.
– This is a major political workshop. In Some cases Congress the win, in other cases the editorial committee prevails, says Gabrielsen after the vote.
Can have repercussions
Until now, LO has been in favour of boycotting goods from Israeli settlements and industrial zones in the West Bank, but now the tone of the country’s largest employee organization is sharpened.
The decision may have practical consequences for co-operation between LO and Palestinian trade unions, according to Gabrielsen.
– Knesset has earlier this year passed a law that may deny entry of persons or organizations that have a decision to boycott Israel. It could affect us in LO’s Management, he said.
Asked how he now going to follow up on the resolution, the response was more elusive:
– We’re going to take this further, but it goes without saying that an international boycott matter will lie somewhere in the future.
Enough is enough
EL and IT Federation leader Jan Olav Andersen was among those who voted for a general boycott of Israel. He points out that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has lasted for 50 years.
– Enough is enough. This is a continuation of previous discussions in LO, where we have refrained from adopting boycott and instead asked a series of well-intentioned claims – to no avail, says Andersen.
The statement furthermore advocates that Norwegian authorities recognize Palestine as an independent state within the borders of 1967, which the Congress has unanimously agreed on.
Israel reacts vehemently to LO’s boycott decision
Immoral, discriminatory and double standards, the Israeli Embassy in Norway describes LO’s decision to work for an international boycott of the country.
– The Israeli Government strongly condemns the resolution adopted by the LO Congress, saying, ’Boycott Israel’, the Embassy writes in a statement.
– To work for a total boycott of the Israeli state will only contribute to, and further increase the distrust and tension. It will lead us further away from a peaceful solution.
– This immoral resolution reflects deep-rooted, biased, discriminatory and double standard attitudes toward the Jewish state. There appears to be an Israeli obsession in the trade unions, especially LO, the embassy writes.
The statement emphasized that the Israelis want to live in peace with its neighbours and has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.
Israel supports the two-state solution, it says.
– The resolution is in effect, a rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their own state. Accepting the claim for the return of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, not to the Palestinian state, but to Israel, means in practice a resolution to eradicate the Jewish state
The LO, with its decision, wants also to eradicate the security barrier between Israel and the West Bank, standing side by side with “Israel’s worst enemies”, according to the country’s embassy in Oslo.
Støre: Boycott does not bring a political solution closer
Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre stressed that a boycott of Israel will not be political line in any Government he will lead.
– It’s a decision I disagree with. I’m against boycott. I do not think it brings us closer to the goals we want, namely a political solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, the creation of a Palestinian state and the promotion of human rights, Støre says to NTB.
He describes the signal effect as a decision by a Norwegian employee organization. In a democracy, one must respect that different voices are expressed.
– But I will make it clear that it’s not the Labour Party’s policy and it’s not a policy that will be upheld by a Government I’m in charge of, he says.
Solberg believes a boycott is counterproductive
Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) believes that LO’s decision to boycott Israel is not very constructive.
Solberg stressed that the Conservatives are against such a boycott.
– We believe it is counterproductive to find workable solutions to end the conflict and believe that we will have cooperation with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find good solutions, she says to NTB.
– This is a negative signal from the trade union movement to Israel. Norwegian trade unions have historically been close collaborators to the development of the state of Israel, she states.
Brende is sorry for the LO’s boycott decision
Boycott of Israel such LO adopted Friday, is not the way to go, says Foreign Minister Børge Brende (Conservatives).
– The Government does not support the boycott of Israel.
I’m sorry for LO’s new line in this question. This is not the way to go for help to solve the deadlocked conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, says Brende in a statement.
He stressed that the boycott creates distance and the government believe more in dialogue and cooperation in order to create confidence.
– Norway has close, long-standing and friendly relations with both the Israelis and the Palestinians and wants a broad political, cultural and economic cooperation with both parties, says Brende.
FRP: – Disgraceful boycott decision by LO
Disgraceful, says Erlend Wiborg of the Progress Party about LO’s decision to work for an international boycott of Israel.
– I have not noticed that LO is in favour of a boycott by other countries that commit serious violations of human rights, but they choose to boycott the Middle East’s only real democracy, says Wiborg.
– LO have three seats in Labour’s central board. This should be a wakeup call for all who support Israel’s existence and right to defend itself, he adds.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today