Why the capital of Iceland has decided to boycott Israeli goods

September 17, 2015, 9:14 PM UTC
Iceland's Capital As Failed Bank Creditors Fight Krona Controls
Residential and commercial buildings stand on the city skyline in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Creditors of Iceland's three biggest failed banks are fighting for a waiver to krona controls imposed in 2008 amid risks pay-outs will be delayed beyond 2015. Photographer: Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Arnaldur Halldorsson — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Reykjavík’s City Council voted on Tuesday that the city would no longer purchase products from Israel, Iceland Magazine reports.

Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, a councilwoman for the Social Democratic Alliance, was the one to put this motion forward. She will soon be retiring, and this was her last major act as councilwoman. The motion states that the city will boycott Israeli goods “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues,” adding that it’s a symbolic action to show that the city supports Palestinian independence.

Sóley Tómasdóttir, a member of the Left Green Alliance, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that this act puts pressure on Israel. She also mentioned that the City Council may decide to boycott other countries that it believes violate human rights.

The decision stirred up controversy. Einar Gautur Steingrímsson, a lawyer in the area, says that it violates the Icelandic constitution. He told a local news site that Reykjavík does not have the authority to determine foreign policy. He said that this ruling “is as illegal as refusing to do business with red haired people and it makes no difference whether they justify their decision with references to some alleged actions by the Israelis.”