The city of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, modified its position today on a boycott of Israel, deciding instead only to boycott products from the Occupied Territories.
That is a much more politically sensible decision and a smart one for Reykjavík. The initial boycott was going to complicate Iceland’s foreign policy, as it is not the national policy to boycott all of Israel. Indeed, Iceland has no specific policy about how to respond to the occupation, nor does it have one regarding economic actions against Israel.
The outcome, however, does have an unfortunate side effect: it will be perceived as a tacit acknowledgment that a boycott of Israel over the occupation is, indeed, an act of antisemitism. The hysterical reaction of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and the entirely inappropriate call by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (an institution which shames Wiesenthal’s name on a daily basis with their consistent practice of labelling any and all criticism of Israel as antisemitism) for Jews not to go to Reykjavík, will now appear to have been effective. Continue reading
The Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik has declared a boycott of all Israeli goods. The measure is clearly symbolic, as the
Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, the Reykjavik official who brought the boycott motion
city itself can’t do enough trade with Israel, or any other country, for such an action to have any impact. The responses to the action, however, are worth examining.
A retiring official, Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, of the Social Democratic Alliance, a center-left party, brought the motion for the boycott. The motion compels the city to boycott all Israeli products “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues.” The memo that explains the reasoning behind what it terms a “symbolic” decision states that the city condemns “the Israeli policy of apartheid” in the Occupied Territories. Continue reading
The big news coming out of the EU Parliamentary elections this past weekend was the gains the right wing made, and these were very real and important. But what we’re really seeing is a response to the eurozone which is not working for way too many in Europe. The right, in most countries, was the side that offered some sort of alternative. Greece demonstrated, however, that there is a real opening for a leftist party that is going to offer opposition to big European capital interests. I explore in Souciant today.
In my latest piece for Souciant, I explore the meaning of Iceland’s resolution recognizing both Palestinian statehood and the Palestinian Right of Return and Bernard Avishai’s recent piece on RoR, which I posted here.
For readers’ reference, since RoR is such a controversial subject, my own view of the issue can be seen in this piece from last year.