The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the decision by the city council in Reykjavik, Iceland to boycott Israel products as “counterproductive and frivolous.”
Michael A. Salberg, ADL Director of International Affairs, said:
The Reykjavik city council’s decision to boycott Israeli products is one of the most counter-productive boycotts we can recall. The municipality itself has likely never bought any Israeli products, and all of Iceland only imported $6 million in Israeli goods last year. Yet, this decision will certainly harm Iceland’s reputation in the U.S., an overwhelmingly pro-Israel country, which imported almost $300 million of goods from Iceland in 2013.
Millions more were spent on tourism by the 150,000 Americans who visited Iceland last year. We imagine Iceland’s leading exporters of goods and services are the ones who will be most concerned about the potential consequences of the City Council’s decision.
With one frivolous decision, the Reykjavik city council has damaged Iceland’s expensive multi-year marketing campaign. While ADL does not support counter-boycotts, we imagine Iceland’s leading exporters of goods and services are more concerned than Israel about the consequences.
Iceland’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned the city’s decision, saying it was merely symbolic and had no tangible effect on its policies toward Jerusalem.
“The decision does not reflect Iceland’s relationship with Israel,” an Icelandic Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Israel’s Channel 2.
“The city of Reykjavik is just one of 74 local authorities, and like the others, there too the municipal council can determine policy regarding local matters, including matters pertaining to the purchase of products, as long as those policies are not against the law….Obviously, Israelis will be welcome in Iceland, as they have been until now,” added the spokesperson.