Published September 16, 2015
Yesterday, Reykjavík City Hall passed a proposal to boycott goods from Israel, raising questions about feasibility and consistency.
RÚV reports that yesterday Reykjavík City Hall voted in favour of a proposal submitted by outgoing Social Democrat councilperson Björk Vilhelmsdóttir that places a ban on the purchasing department of Reykjavík City from buying products from Israel, so long as the occupation of Palestine continues. Products from Israel may still be on the shelves in private shops in the capital, but the city will no longer buy such products for its offices and other city institutions.
The proposal did, however, raise objections from city council opposition. Kjartan Magnússon, a councilperson for the Independence Party, accused the ruling coalition of hypocrisy by passing the proposal. Kjartan pointed out that China still occupies Tibet, as it has done since 1950, and yet Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has accepted trips to China at the expense of the Chinese government. There is also no known proposal to boycott goods from China.
At the same time, Supreme Court lawyer Einar Gautur Steingrímsson told Vísir that city council’s approval of the proposal “goes beyond the city’s role as a municipality”, and contends furthermore that the proposal is unconstitutional.
“This is just as illegal as refusing to do business with redheads,” he told reporters. “Iceland has a political agreement with this country, and it means nothing for the city to contend that they are the only ones with the right opinion on as complicated a subject as the Middle East.”