Following a motion by Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, a Social Democratic Alliance politician, Reykjavik city council voted in favor of boycotting Israeli goods on Tuesday until the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands is over.
Following the decision, the council president Soley Tomasdottir told national public broadcasting RUV that by doing this, “even though we are a small city in the far north, are doing what we can to put pressure on the government of Israel to stop the occupation of Palestinian territory."
The city council of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, has a left wing majority. Right wing councillors voted against the boycott.
The city council explained the reason behind the decision in a synopsis referring to "the right of Palestinians for an independent state” and UN Security Council Resolution 242.
The Resolution, which was adopted in 1967 after the six-day war between Israel and several Arab countries, demands the “withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace.”
UN rights investigator Richard Falk, an international law expert and a Jewish American law professor, had accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” for pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem last year.
The council also referred in its synopsis to the worldwide boycott of South Africa during the apartheid era, citing it as a good example where boycott of trade and other relations had an important impact.
Israel and US Jewish groups, on the other hand, have called the decision to boycott Israel a hate crime.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said "A volcano of hatred is erupting in the Reykjavik city council."
Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center, a civil rights group defending Israel in the courts, challenged the city and Iceland, inviting it to “disconnect from Israeli technology” which it said would damage Iceland more than Israel, according to The Algemeiner.
Riya Hassan, the Europe campaigns officer with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BDS Movement) welcomed the decision, calling it “an impressive victory for human rights and the Palestinian people in its struggle for justice, equality and freedom.”
“The fact that Israel is already gearing up to use all means to overturn this decision,” he continued, “proves that this is a significant decision that challenges Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.”
In recent years, many other councils passed decisions to boycott Israeli goods in Sweden, Spain, the UK, France and Norway.