Reykjavik mayor says boycott of Israeli goods only meant for ‘occupied areas’

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The mayor of Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, has walked back a city council decision to boycott all Israeli products.

Only goods produced in “occupied areas” will be boycotted by the city council, Mayor Dagur Eggertsson told the Icelandic national broadcaster RUV, the English-language Iceland Monitor reported Saturday.

The mayor said he would recommend that the Reykjavik City Council retract the resolution in its current form and then take steps to reform it. He will make his recommendation at the city council meeting scheduled for Sept. 24, according to RUV.

“I expected a reaction but not on this scale,” Eggertsson said. “It appears to be a stronger reaction than when Iceland declared support for an independent Palestine” in 2011.

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In 2013 through this year, Iceland’s imports from Israel totaled roughly $6 million, mostly machinery and Dead Sea chemicals, according to the Times of Israel.

The Reykjavik City Council passed the resolution on Sept. 15, saying that the municipality would not purchase any Israeli goods “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues,” Iceland Magazine reported.

In an explanatory memo, the council said the City of Reykjavik supports the right of Palestinians to independence and condemns “the Israeli policy of apartheid” in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Bjork Vilhelmsdottir, a councilwoman with the Social Democratic Alliance, introduced the motion.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned the Reykjavik council’s decision

“For no reason or justification, except hatred for its own sake, calls of boycotting the state of Israel are heard,” its statement said. “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.”

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