Attempts by anti-Israel and BDS affiliated movements to pressure businesses to boycott Israeli products in Norway have failed.
Staples, a large Norwegian department store chain, announced in December that it was going to stop selling SodaStream products from Israel following pressure from the local workers Union and pro-Palestinian groups.
Med Israel for Fred (MIFF), a pro-Israel organization, heard of the planned boycott, and Kjetil Ravn Hansen, a deputy on the MIFF Board, sent the following message to the company:
“I was very disappointed when I read on your Twitter account about the phasing out of SodaStream. It appears that this decision is taken on the basis of collaboration with the Norwegian People’s Union [the workers union]. Since this is a unilateral, negative attitude to the world’s only Jewish state, I’m afraid this is not a balanced decision.”
Staples claimed they stopped selling the product because it sold poorly.
But following a campaign by MIFF, Staples reversed its decision and returned to selling SodaStream.
MIFF notified Staples it would publicize that Staples was a boycotting company, thus potentially hindering its international sales. Staples announced: “We want to make it clear: We still sells SodaStream. We take no position on political issues.”
General data shows BDS organizations have failed not only with Staples and SodaStream, but in regards to all trade between Israel a Norway. Norway’s Bureau of Statistics has recently published the preliminary figures for Norwegian external trade in 2013, and statistics show that Norwegian imports from Israel were at a total of 807 million Norwegian Krones (NOK), ($131 million), up from 761 million NOK in 2012.
In fact, for the fifth consecutive year imports from Israel to Norway have increased more than imports from other countries.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, Norwegian exports to Israel have also increased in 2013, by 15 percent, to 667 million NOK, from 580 million NOK in 2012.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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