By Aryeh Savir –
Tazpit News Agency –
Attempts by anti-Israel and BDS affiliated movements to pressure businesses to boycott Israeli products continues, but their attempts in this case in Norway have failed.
Staples, a large department store chain in Norway, announced in December it was going to stop selling SodaStream products from Israel following pressure from the local workers Union and pro-Palestinian groups.
Med Israel for Fred (MIFF) a pro-Israel organization, heard of the planned boycott, and Kjetil Ravn Hansen, deputy of the MIFF Board, sent the following message to the company:
“I was very disappointed when I read on your Twitter account about the phasing out of SodaStream. It appears that this decision is taken on the basis of collaboration with the Norwegian People’s Union [the workers union]. Since this is a unilateral negative attitude to the world’s only Jewish state, I’m afraid this is not a balanced decision.”
Staples claimed they stopped selling the product because it sold poorly. Following a campaign by MIFF, Staples reversed its decision and returned to selling SodaStream. MIFF notified Staples it would publicize that Staples was a boycotting company, thus potentially hindering its international sales. Staples announced: ” We want to make it clear: We still sell SodaStream. We take no position on political issues.”
MIFF views their campaign as a victory over the anti- Israel and BDS movement constantly working to harm Israel through its economy.
General data shows these organizations have failed not only with Staples and SodaStream, but in regards to all trade between Israel a Norway. Norway’s bureau of Statistics has recently published the preliminary figures for Norwegian external trade in 2013, and statistics show that Norwegian imports from Israel were at a total of 807 million Norwegian Krones (NOK), ($131 million), up from 761 million NOK in 2012. Imports from Israel to Norway increased more than imports from other countries, and increased for the fifth consecutive year.
Furthermore, Norwegian exports to Israel increased in 2013. According to Statistics, Norway’s figures of exports were 667 million NOK, an increase from the 580 million NOK in 2012. This consists of an of 15% increase.