Foreign Minister Unsure About Sanctions Against Israel - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Foreign Minister Unsure About Sanctions Against Israel

Published September 18, 2014

Photos by
Patrick Brennan

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told parliament that he was unsure whether now is the time to engage in sanctions against Israel.

MBL reports that the Minister, responding to a question from Social Democrat MP (and former Foreign Minister) Össur Skarphéðinsson on whether or not Iceland should start sanctions or embargos against Israel, was hesitant at best about the idea.

“Regarding whether the time has come to initiate sanctions or an embargo against Israel, I am not sure if this is the right thing to do at this stage,” he said. “I’m not sure about that.”

However, the Minister did not rule out Iceland taking part in an international effort to impose such sanctions, although he does not believe the time is right for that, either. At the same time, he emphasised that he believes “Israel bears most of the responsibility for the situation in the region”.

As reported, a citizen’s group called BDS Ísland hopes to bring to light which Icelandic companies are importing and selling Israeli goods, so consumers can engage in their own sanctions against Israel. The “BDS” in the group’s name stands for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions”.

On the diplomatic front, though, the Icelandic government – while often using strong rhetorical criticism of Israel – has been less than willing to turn to more practical methods.

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