Leftist Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen
caused a stir Thursday by publicly backing a consumer boycott of Israel
in solidarity with Palestinians.
Halvorsen, who is also leader of the Socialist Left Party, was quoted as telling the major Oslo tabloid Dagbladet
that she had stopped buying Israeli products long ago, and that she supports her party's boycott campaign.
"My and the Socialist Left's goal is for Norwegian consumers to decide to drop products and services from Israel, and make other choices in the shops," she was quoted as saying. The interview was given before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
suffered a stroke on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, of Labor, immediately responded that a government-backed boycott of Israel "would be unthinkable."
"It is not in the government platform," he said. "It is not Labor's policy. It is not the Center Party's policy. It will not become the government's policy."
Christian Democrat Ingebrigt Soerfon, an opposition politician who leads the Norwegian Parliament's
Friends of Israel group, sharply criticized Halvorsen.
"Moves like this do not serve any peace process. Nor does it serve Norway's role," he said on the state radio network NRK. "This is disappointing."