|Wikileaks:||View 06OSLO19 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PREL PGOV ETRD IS NO|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000019 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2016 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ETRD, IS, NO SUBJECT: ISRAEL BOYCOTT? FINANCE MINISTER OFF RESERVATION REF: 05 OSLO 1854 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Christopher W. Webster, reason 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Summary: Deputy Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand called Charge on the morning January 5 to disassociate the Norwegian government from comments made by Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen on January 4 in which she publicly supported a consumer boycott of Israel. Boycotting Israeli products is not the Norwegian government's policy, nor will it become government policy, Skogrand told Charge. Skogrand said that Halvorsen's comments represent the views of her Socialist Left party, a junior coalition partner in Stoltenberg's government, views that the majority Labor Party opposed including the government's platform. Halvorsen has told the Norwegian press that she will continue to push within the government coalition for a boycott of Israel. End Summary. 2. (U) On January 4, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet asked Socialist Left (SV) party leader and Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen if she supported a boycott of Israeli goods and services, a hot topic in Norway after the decision by a large Norwegian local authority to pursue such a policy (reftel). Halvorsen answered "It has been a long time since I bought Israeli goods, and I support, of course my party's campaign to boycott goods and services from Israel. My goal and SV's goal is for Norwegian consumers not to choose goods and services from Israel but make different selections in the shops." 3. (U) Halvorsen went on to acknowledge that such a boycott was not government policy, but said, "the government has to accept that there are different views among the parties on which methods we want to use with Israel. This campaign is the result of a long and intense engagement within SV, and we want tougher methods against Israel than the government will accept." She went on to say that "as the leader of the Socialist Left I maintain my right to advance the case (for a boycott of Israeli goods and services) in the discussions that take place outside and within the government." 4. (C) Skogrand called Charge on the morning of January 5 at the behest of Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere, he said. Skogrand emphasized that Halvorsen was not saying anything new and that SV had long advocated personal consumers to boycott Israel. Skogrand emphasized that SV had tried to make a boycott of Israel part of the government's policy platform, but that they had failed to convince their coalition partners. Skogrand sought to assure Charge that boycotting Israel or advocating personal consumer boycotts of Israeli goods and services will not become the Norwegian policy in future. 5. (C) Comment: It is clear that Halvorsen and other SV politicians still are finding it difficult to transition from SV's former role as unrestrained opposition to being a responsible government partner. While the government has tried to minimize its internal divisions with SV, it is clear that these latest statements by Halvorsen caught the MFA by surprise and embarrassed the Labor-led government; hence, the immediate step to call us to reassure that there has been no change in policy. We can expect these "surprises" to continue so long as SV remains in the coalition. Many feel that it is only a matter of time before either Labor tires of SV's antics and asks them to leave, or SV itself decides it cannot continue to be in government. Visit Oslo's Classified website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m WEBSTER NNNN
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