Norway’s biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott

Norway's biggest trade union voted Friday in favour of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it "immoral".

Norway's biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott
File image of Israel's ambassador to Norway, Raphael Schutz. Photo: Tore Meek/Scanpix

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favour of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.

LO, which also called for Norway to recognise a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticised by the government.

“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union's decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.

Israel's embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.

“This immoral resolution reflects deeply rooted attitudes of bias, discrimination and double standard towards the Jewish state,” ambassador Raphael Schutz wrote in an email to AFP.

Noting that LO had also called for the dismantling of a barrier erected by Israel separating it from the Palestinian territories, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel”.

Norway hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the early 1990s that led to the now-defunct Oslo accords.

READ ALSO: Trondheim approves boycott of Israeli settlement goods


Utøya ‘God’s payment for opposing Israel’

The young people killed in 2011’s brutal terror attack on the island of Utøya deserved to die because their organisation was too critical of Israel, a new book by a US evangelical Christian has claimed.

Utøya 'God's payment for opposing Israel'
The book's writer Jeremy Hoff and Kjartan Mogen from Norway's Party of Christians. Photo: YouTube/Facebook
According to “22 July: The Prophecy”, the Norway’s Labour Party Youth (AUF), whose summer camp was attacked by the far-right terrorist Anders Breivik in 2011, was too supportive of Palestinians, making its members “enemies of God”. 
“When tragedy came, it was as a result of Norway’s fateful betrayal of Israel via the Oslo Accords. We reap what we sow,” the book’s author Jeremy Hoff, wrote in a response to a critical editorial in Norway’s Vårt Land newspaper. “It is true that I openly argue that the Utøya massacre was God’s direct judgment over Norway. Throughout the Bible, it is clear that God allows evil people and evil nations to exercise his direct judgments.”
Kjartan Mogen, the lead candidate for the Party of the Christians in Skien in this month’s country election, said he had met Hoff through the International Christian Zionist Centre, and supported his message. 
“The terrorism was the Devil’s work; the attacks occurred because of Labour and the AUF’s resistance against Israel, and God let it happen,” he told Dagbladet newspaper. “The Labour Party supports the Palestinian organisations PLO and Hamas.” 
Mani Hussaini, the AUF’s new leader of Norway’s Labour Party youth called Mogen’s support for the book “horrible, offensive, and disappointing”. 
Hoff, who works as an administrative pastor at the Shepherd of the Hills Church, published the work in Norwegian under his own imprint and has already sold several thousand copies. 
He draws on a prophecy he claims was made a year before the attacks and also on the strange numerical correlations which characterised the events, such as the fact that Breivik’s attack lasted precisely 77 minutes and also claimed 77 lives. 
On the book’s website, Gro Wenske, leader of Norway’s Committee for the Bible and Israel, calls it “fantastically good”. 
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, founder of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem wrote, that “This is a book which all Christians in Norway should read.” 
Terje Liverød, chief executive of the Catch The Fire School Of Ministry Norway, said it contained “enormously valuable information”. 
The book has received considerable publicity on Norway’s evangelical channel TV Visjon.