European Jewish groups this week began the “fight-back” after Iceland’s capital Reykjavic voted to boycott all products made in Israel.
The City Council this week said Tuesday’s vote was a symbolic act in support of Palestinian statehood and in condemnation of Israel’s “policy of apartheid,” but the European Jewish Congress said it was “clear discrimination”.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also hit out, with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the country’s tectonic activity, saying: “A volcano of hatred spews forth from the Reykjavik city council building… For no reason or justification, except hatred for its own sake, calls of boycotting the state of Israel are heard.”
The Ministry spokesman added: “We hope someone in Iceland will come to their senses and end the one-sided blindness fielded against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The municipality said it would not purchase any Israeli goods “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues,” but EJC President Moshe Kantor questioned whether that was legal.
“This is clearly a discriminatory move and we have already sought advice that it might break international law and treaties,” he said.
“Once again we see one nation, over all others, subjected to a ban and boycott, and we would like to ask those that sought this boycott if it is a mere coincidence that this nation also happens to be only Jewish nation in the world.”
Sóley Tómasdóttir, who forms part of the governing coalition in Reykjavík, argued the city might boycott products manufactured in other states which engage in human rights violations, but that response true scorn from Brussels.
“Many have stated that they will start with Israel and then explore other situations, and none have ever gone beyond Israel,” said Kantor. “This is clearly a case of discrimination, warped hatred and singling out of one nation in the world for opprobrium. It is time for the Jewish world to fight back.”
Commenting on the decision, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis said: “If Reykjavik is serious about their ban they need to shut down their computers and hand in their mobile phones all of which works thanks to Israeli innovation that benefits every part of modern life. As a democracy the Council surely has a duty to ask their people if they would be willing to go without their cell phones in support of their leaders’ silliness.
“In reality if Reykjavik city council wanted real change in the middle-east they would seek ways of constructive engagement to help on the ground rather than a symbolic gesture which is nothing more than an affront to the Jewish community.”