In a symbolic act to demonstrate support for Palestinian statehood, Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland, has decided to boycott goods made in Israel.
The City Council voted this week, according to Iceland Magazine, not to purchase any goods manufactured in Israel as long as the Israeli occupation of disputed Palestinian territories continued.
Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, a councilwoman for the Social Democratic Alliance, initiated the boycott and this was her last major proposal as she will soon retire.
“The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement all over the world is becoming stronger because we know how boycotting goods has influenced other states like South Africa,” Vilhelmsdóttir told The Electronic Intifada – an online publication that covers the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Israel’s occupation is illegal under international law and the United Nations has repeatedly told the country’s government to vacate Palestinian territory, all to no avail.
Sóley Tómasdóttir, a member of the Left Green Alliance that forms part of the governing coalition, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that the boycott is intended to put pressure on Israeli authorities to end the controversial expansion.
However, Reykjavík’s decision is being criticized by many. In response to the boycott, an Israel support group StandWithUs called for a boycott of Iceland.
In fact, Icelandic Supreme Court lawyer Einar Gautur Steingrímsson claims the city council’s approval of the proposal is illegal since it “goes beyond the city’s role as a municipality.” The council cannot decide on foreign policy or sanctions against foreign governments, he added.
Even Iceland’s Foreign Ministry issued a clarification, saying Reykjavik's boycott decision “doesn't match state policy.”
Iceland was the first west European country to formally recognize a Palestinian state in 2011.