Newly elected LO leader Hans-Christian Gabrielsen warned against a general boycott, and told that the decision might also affect Palestinian workers and Palestinian labor movement. But the congressional majority voted for the boycott with 193 against 117 votes.
Only a few hours after the decision, the Israeli Embassy in Norway reacted fiercely.
– The Israeli embassy strongly condemns the resolution adopted by the LO Congress, wrote NTB.
– To work for a total boycott of the Israeli state will only contribute to further increase in distrust and conflict. It will lead us further away from a peaceful solution, wrote the embassy.
Foreign Minister of Norway Børge Brende also reacted to the boycott.
– The government does not support boycott of Israel. I apologize for LO’s this decision. This is not the way to help resolving the unrestrained conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, said he according to Dagbladet.
He further noted boycott creates distance, and Norwegian government believed in dialogue and cooperation.
– Norway has close, long-term and friendly relations with both the Israelis and Palestinians, and wants broad political, cultural and economic cooperation with both parties, said he.
— Børge Brende (@borgebrende) May 12, 2017
Political Parties React to the Boycott
Labor Party (Ap), Christian Democrats (KrF) and Progress Party (Frp) also reacted to the decision of the most influential workers’ organisation in Norway.
Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee from Ap, Anniken Huitfeldt says to Dagbladet that Ap is against boycott of Israeli goods.
– We do not support LO’s approach. LO and Ap do not agree on everything. We want the violence to end, we need a two-state solution. But a general boycott is not the way to go, says Huitfeldt to Dagbladet.
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is decidedly the largest and most influential workers’ organisation in Norway. LO has a strong position in society and has set its stamp on society’s development for more than 100 years.
The 21 national unions affiliated to the LO have almost 900,000 members of a Norwegian population of 5 million. The majority of affiliated unions organizes traditional blue collar workers.
Congress, which took the boycott decision, is LO’s highest authority and meets every four years. Congress deals with annual reports and accounts and elects the top level leadership of LO. Congress debates and decides on the Programme of Action and on amendments to the Constitution and establishes LO’s general course for the congress period. Congress comprises 315 delegates, 260 elected as delegates from LO’s national unions, 40 elected from the trade union county organisations and the 15 members of LO’s Executive Committee, elected by the previous Congress. Each of LO’s national unions sends at least one delegate to Congress, the number of delegates being determined in proportion to the union membership.