Al-Haq Goes to Norway, Norwegian Labor Union votes to Boycott Israel
On May 12, 2017, the Norwegian Fagforbundet Labor Union National (LO) “voted 197 to 117 in favor of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel.” The vote follows a meeting with Al-Haq General Director Shawan Jabarin in April. The Norwegian government strongly opposed the measure.
In addition to being a staunch proponent of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) himself, Shawan Jabarin has alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization and as such has been previously denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan. The PFLP is a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. The PFLP has been involved in suicide bombings, hijackings, shootings, and assassinations, among other terrorist activities targeting civilians.
Jabarin was brought to Norway by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), an organization claiming to promote “long-term development cooperation” that is largely funded by the Norwegian government. NPA supports BDS campaigns against Israel and lobbies the Norwegian government to divest from Israeli companies.
On April 5, Jabarin spoke at LO. During his presentation, Jabarin called on the Norwegian government to “recognize Palestine as an independent state and advocate[d for the government] to impose sanctions on Israel.” Based on this, the Fagforbundet adopted a statement, citing DanWatch, calling for boycott campaigns and Norwegian divestment from Israeli companies. The statement claims:
“Norwegian authorities must ensure that the Government Pension Fund and Norwegian companies do not strengthen the occupation through trade and investments in companies that have or contribute to activities on occupied territory. Import of Israeli goods from settlements and industrial zones must be banned, and Norwegian authorities must take the initiative for an international ban on such goods.”
On April 6, Jabarin spoke at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on “the risk of Israeli annexation of Palestine.” Also speaking on the panel were historian Jørgen Jensehaugen and Kathrine Raadim of NPA. According to Al-Haq, the Israeli ambassador to Norway challenged the one-sided view of this presentation.
On April 7, Jabarin was invited by pension company KLP to give a presentation to NORSIF members (Norwegian Forum for Responsible and sustainable investments). Other NORSIF members include a variety of banks, pension funds, and the corporate social responsibility firm Sustainalytics. The Chairman of the board of NORSIF is the director of institutional clients at Nordea bank. Jabarin’s spoke about “investment in companies with operations in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a particular focus on the Israeli banks’ funding of settlements.”
The episode is yet another example of how BDS activists are exploiting CSR and other corporate and pension frameworks to backdoor discriminatory anti-Israel policies.