The head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Friday urged the government of Iceland to “strongly denounce” a decision adopted earlier this week by the City Council of Reykjavik to boycott all Israeli products for political reasons. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder lamented “the silence of Iceland’s political leadership on this important matter” and added: “We urge the government of Iceland to act against this boycott. It is unfair, and it could have negative repercussions for Iceland’s good name on the international stage. We need to know what the official position of the Government of Iceland is in that regard, and what it intends to do about this boycott call.”
Lauder, who has been in close contact with leading personalities in Iceland, urged the country’s leadership to make “a dramatic public gesture that will demonstrate to the people of Iceland and the world that there is boycotts are wrong and counterproductive.”
“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement only strengthens extremists on both sides. It feeds into the worst stereotypes Israelis and Palestinians have of each other, and prevents any political or social dialogue from taking place. Instead of boycott calls, Iceland should initiate or support efforts aimed at fostering dialogue and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians," the WJC president declared.
On Tuesday, the City Council of Reykjavik, capital of Iceland and home to about half of the country's population, had voted to boycott Israeli goods until Israel “ends it occupation of Palestinian territories.” Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the vote, saying it was the eruption of “a volcano of hatred.”
The vote is mainly symbolic, although Iceland imports Israeli goods worth several million dollars every year, mostly machinery and Dead Sea chemicals.