US embassy cable - 06OSLO19

ISRAEL BOYCOTT? FINANCE MINISTER OFF RESERVATION

Identifier: 06OSLO19
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO19 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-05 12:07:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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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