Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Wednesday condemned a petition against Israel which was signed by one hundred famous Norwegians. RELATED:Boycotting
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"Those who call for a boycott against Israel are in effect boycotting
the peace process by automatically and unequivocally endorsing the
Palestinian position and pushing them further away from the negotiating
table," Ayalon said in a statement. "We expect the Norwegian government to condemn this boycott."
The Norwegians, led by the country’s national soccer
coach, signed a petition demanding a cultural and academic boycott
of Israel, accusing its educational institutions of “playing a key role
in the occupation” and equating it with apartheid.
Egil Drillo Olsen, coach for the national Norwegian soccer team, recently wrote in Aftenposten
the country’s second largest paper, that the call to boycott Israel was
"in line with what 90 percent of the world’s population believes. There
cannot be many other opinions."
petition is the last item in a string of similar and high-profile
initiatives to have taken place in Norway over the past two years. It
was signed by coach Olsen and 99 other public figures from the arts and
culture arena, who stated that a boycott is "necessary" not only to help
Palestinians, but also to "support Israelis opposing the occupation."
Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said the boycott call was
"unhelpful" and "not representative" of the current government’s policy.
who presided over the Norwegian government for seven years over the
period 1997 until 2005 on behalf of the Christian Democratic Party,
added that he wished to "reassure" Israelis that the "boycott is not an issue in
But Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a senior researcher of
anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist trends in Scandinavia, alleges Norway is a
"pioneer" in the Western world promoting boycotts and hatred against
Israel.Gerstenfeld, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, notes some "uniquely Norwegian
developments unparalleled elsewhere in the West."
Among them, he
lists praise that Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote
last year for a book accusing the IDF of deliberately killing Gazan
women and children, and the promotion of a Norwegian diplomat who had
compared Operation Cast Lead in Gaza with the action of the Nazis.
same year the major Norwegian State pension fund divested from Elbit
Systems because of the company's involvement in building the security
Since then, Norwegian shares in several other Israeli companies have
been divested. In November 2009, a Norwegian university, NTNU in
Trondheim, became the first in the West whose Board openly discussed
boycotting Israel. The plan was ultimately unanimously rejected.
"Norway’s case is unique because it is a country dominated by a
political, media and cultural elite with deep-rooted anti-Israeli
attitudes stemming from their political world view," Gerstenfeld said.
"It poses a threat to Israel because it may be the place where
precedents are set in the campaign to delegitimize Israel."