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Amateurs in Politics (BJ)

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Benedikt Jóhannesson's picture

When Björk Vilhelmsdóttir came to her very last meeting of the Reykjavík City Council she was granted one final wish: She wanted the Council to pass a resolution that the City of Reykjavík should prepare a boycott of Israeli goods while Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land. It was a very short sighted move and demonstrates what happens when politicians act before they think.

Ever since the majority adopted that resolution, Reykjavík Mayor, Dagur B. Eggertsson, has been drifting from one excuse to another. When the first criticism came up, the Mayor said that the resolution was one more example of good administration within the City.

On day two he explained that the resolution was not very specific and he of course referred only to products from the occupied area. This is not what the resolution said.

On day three he said that the resolution might have been better considered, but that it was customary that council members were granted their last resolution.

On day four it became clear that many products that the city uses every day contain Israel produced products, e.g. medicine, computers, and mobile phones. Of course the council members and others in Reykjavík would continue to use all these products.

Today, on day five, the Mayor said the council would withdraw the resolution and reword it.

The damage is done. The council majority is exposed as a bunch of amateurs, the Mayor as an indecisive and inept administrator. And not very courageous.

Reykjavík and Iceland have been portrayed as enemies of Israel, and the city of Reykjavík has taken up a foreign policy different from the rest of the country. Iceland’s foreign minister has condemned the resolution and media reaction has generally been negative, even though it has certainly been mixed.

If the city wanted to make a statement it could have pointed to UN resolutions, or any other type of resolutions. They are free to say anything they want. The majority chose an all-out embargo, a hostile and illegal action, which harmed the city’s image.

I am only one Icelander, but I do apologize for the harm done.

Benedikt Jóhannesson [email protected]

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Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.