Norway Jewish leader: Trade union boycott is anti-Semitic

Leader of Norway’s Jewish community issues rare rebuke of local trade union's resolution urging a boycott of Israel.

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Ben Ariel, Canada,

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The leader of Norway’s Jewish community issued a rare rebuke, saying that anti-Semitism motivated a local trade union to pass a resolution urging a boycott of Israel.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community in Oslo, told the JTA news agency that the vote last week by the assembly of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions “is anti-Semitic in the way that it singles out Israel.”

“However, I’m not so interested in it but rather in ways to achieve peace,” stressed Kohn.

The confederation, known locally as LO, represents over 900,000 unionized workers in the country – more than one quarter of the adult working population. Its delegates voted 193-117 in favor of the boycott last week.

“Since dialogue and resolutions have had little effect, there must henceforth come an effort to achieve an international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel in order to achieve those objectives,” the resolution read.

Leaders of Norway’s small Jewish community of 800 rarely cite anti-Semitism in explaining the prevalence of anti-Israel attitudes in Norway, noted JTA. Nonetheless, “the vast majority of people in Norway are interested in seeing a safe, secure and democratic Israel,” Kohn said.

In recent years, LO has called to boycott various Israeli institutions, including the Histadrut labor union and businesses “that profit from the occupation of Palestinian land,” as the organization stated in a 2013 resolution.

A Norwegian government spokesman distanced the Cabinet from the vote and said it does not represent the official position of Norway.

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

Last December, the City Council of the Norwegian city of Tromso adopted a resolution calling on its residents to boycott products made in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Trondheim, Norway's third largest city, adopted a similar measure a month earlier.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)