The Socialist Left Party in Norway will not drop the planned boycott of Israeli products, despite strong criticism of party leader and Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen’s stated support of the boycott last week, the Norway Post reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, the decision to maintain the boycott against Israel was reached at a meeting of the party’s Central Committee on Monday.
However, the party’s leader will no longer speak on behalf of the boycott campaign.
Party Secretary Edle Daasvand Skjaeveland will become the “spokesperson’ for the boycott “to avoid uncertainty about the government’s policy,” the newspaper quoted Halvorsen as saying.
Halvorsen brought Norway to the brink of a diplomatic crisis with Israel last week by publicly endorsing a consumer boycott of the Jewish state to protest Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
She was quoted as telling the major Oslo tabloid Dagbladet that she had stopped buying Israeli products long ago, and that she supports her party's boycott campaign.
"My and the Socialist Left's goal is for Norwegian consumers to decide to drop products and services from Israel, and make other choices in the shops," she was quoted as saying. The interview was given before Sharon suffered a stroke on Wednesday.
'Boycott would be unthinkable'
Israel rushed to ask for clarifications over the remarks, with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom contacting his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere, of Labor.
Stoere immediately responded that a government-backed boycott of Israel "would be unthinkable."
"It is not in the government platform," he said. "It is not Labor's policy. It is not the Center Party's policy. It will not become the government's policy."
Halvorsen’s party pushed for a boycott of Israeli goods in parliament three years ago but the bill was turned down.