Norway’s largest labour organization, the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO), is calling for a boycott of all Israeli products. LO is a long-time supporter of Israel, but now has clearly lost patience with the Israeli government’s ongoing aggression in Palestinian areas. LO’s proposed boycott is the latest in a series of moves aimed at protesting Israeli military attacks on the civilian Palestinian population. A local grocery store chain urged a similar boycott a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t carried out.
Now LO officials want all Israeli products in Norwegian stores to be clearly marked. They’re also calling for union members to stay away from arrangements or receptions hosted by Israel’s embassy in Oslo.
Nor should any union members take part in meetings or conferences in Israel, LO said, unless they are directly connected to efforts to achieve peace in the area.
All organized workers in Norway are further being urged to use arrangements or parades on May 1 (observed as Labour Day in Norway) to show solidarity with their Palestinian counterparts.
The action by LO is significant, because LO is a traditional supporter of Israel with longtime ties to Israel’s Labour party and labour movement. Norway in general has spent years trying to help bring peace to the region, and has spent millions of taxpayer funds on peace initiatives and aid to both sides.
Israel has defended its attacks on Palestinian areas as part of its effort to crush terrorism and rout out Palestinian suicide bombers. LO wants to see an end to the ongoing spiral of violence in the Middle East.
With its call for a boycott, LO now risks being hit with a flood of hate mail like that aimed recently at Norway’s embassy in the US and Norwegian media outlets, from Israeli supporters who won’t tolerate criticism of or opposition to Israeli policies.