OSLO—A pro-Israel advocacy group in Scandinavia has launched an international protest petition against the decision by the Oslo City to boycott Israeli settlements products.
The Oslo ban is part of the platform for 2019-23 adopted recently by the City Council, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) announced in a statement on its website. The City Council is led by the Socialist Left, Labor and Green parties.
‘’We strongly condemn the Oslo City Council’s plan to implement a boycott of Israeli settlements. Many Israelis already have negative associations to “Oslo”, because more than fourteen hundred Israelis have been killed in Palestinian terror, violence and war after the so-called “Oslo peace process” started,’’ said Med Israel for fred (MIFF).
The group stressed that a boycott by the municipality of Oslo ‘’will be the last confirmation that Oslo has given up on peace and coexistence. Instead the city is giving a hand to radical Islamic and Arab nationalistic forces that want to see the only Jewish state in the world eradicated.’’
MIFF noted that many Jews in Oslo are already hiding their identity and antisemitic incidents and threats against Jews are often caused by anti-Israel motives.
‘’A boycott by the Oslo City Council will be welcomed by the forces in Norway that are the greatest threats to Jewish life: Right- and left wing extremists and radical Islamists,’’ it said.
It added: ‘’There is no other minority group in Oslo that experience more intimidation in schools than the Jews. A boycott by the city of Oslo will surely give a new green light to the bullies.’’
MIFF emphasized that ‘’there is no basis in international law to deny economic activity in occupied or disputed areas, and that this has been confirmed by European courts several times.’’
‘’There is a long list of disputed territories in the world, including with settlers, but statements from the parties in the newly elected Oslo City Council indicate that they plan to target their boycott only against Jews living in the eastern part of Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).’’
MIFF reminded that the US has adopted a “counter-boycott” legislation which imposes serious liabilities and sanctions against those that participate in a boycott of Israeli businesses, including Israeli businesses operating in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
AirBnB, the online market place for house renting worlwide, reversed its decision to remove rental listings of homes located inside Jewish settlements in the West Bank. ‘’Not only is Oslo’s economy in grave danger of being hurt by an adoption of boycott, but a large number of Palestinians working for Israeli businesses in the West Bank will surely be hurt,’’ the pro-Israel group noted. Some 32,000 Palestinians work in industrial zones in Israeli administered parts of the West Bank.
The petition adds: ‘’We would also like to remind the Oslo city council that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in a letter dated 10.01.2006 stated that Norway and Israel have entered an agreement of free trade referring to the WTO agreement on official procurements. This agreement covers procurements done on the level of county and municipality and they have an obligation to admit Israeli suppliers to compete in accordance with the rules of the agreement. A boycott of Israeli suppliers is therefor considered to be in violation of Norwegian commitments according to international law.’’