Counter boycott bites back

This is a Sunday morning cut and paste job, borrowed from the Muqata blog, where blogger Jameel Rashid has put together a very useful list of Scottish products to leave behind.

Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd.
Distillers of: Auchintoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, McClelland’s

Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Ltd
Distillers of Loch Lomond, Scots Earl, Distillery Select, Glen Scotia, Littlemill, Croftengea, Craigslodge, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Inchfad

Chivas Brothers
Distillers of Ballantine’s, Chivas, Royal Salute, Clan Campbell, Something Special, Passport, 100 Pipers, Imperial, Long John Aberlour, The Glenlivet, Glendronach, Strathisla, Longmorn, Scapa, Tormore, Jameson, Paddy, Powers, Walker Special Old, Wisers

I became aware of this entry reading an article on JPost on a kiddush club calling for boycott of Scottish Whiskey, and was more than intrigued to find out that whereas Israel has yet to feel even the slightest prickle as a result of a local council in the middle of nowhere in Scotland, the destillers’ spokespersons seem to take the threat of a counter boycott seriously:

Kirsteen Beeston, a spokeswoman for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, told the Post that “Neither Morrison Bowmore Distillery nor Auchentoshan take any political stance, and this policy has been made independently from us, and without our consultation.”
Kirsteen highlighted Auchentoshan’s efforts to reach out to the Jewish community and its connections to the London Rabbinical court. She stated that she is forwarding all e-mails received to the council to “ensure it is made fully aware of the potential implications of its policy.”

This in turn made me wonder which Norwegian goods might be interesting for the budging counter boycott movement, but then fairly singling out only products coming from municipalities, or boroughs that actually have adopted a boycott Israel motion. So that made a very short list, worse still, very few of the products I was able to identify as potential boycott targets actually were traded outside Norway, so hence, the whole idea fell apart.

I then decided to check which organizations that back the boycott movement, again with a rather bizarre, if not ridiculous result: who cares what the Norwegian Communist Party might think? their 2009 poll result was embarrassing, a total of 697 votes.

And what about the Graphic Workers Union of Dagbladet? Yes, that would be Dagbladet only, the newspaper with the greatest contraction of sales in 2009, a whooping 14,7%, a result that prompted the current owners to look for new owners. Potential suitors include A-Pressen, the labour affiliated media group, whose top share holder is the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. However, the current owner of Dagbladet Jens P. Heyerdahl is reluctant to let this bid go ahead.

Another fringe element on the list of would be Israel boycotters is the Norwegian Language Youth, a subsidiary of the Norwegian Language Society. This youth organization counts 1300 souls, 1000 of whom are under 26 (which is the age limit for this “club”). Several years ago, the organization was involved in a fraud scandal, when it claimed money for ghost members. But it appears that its own members think the link between language and dialect activism in Norway and international politics is somewhat unclear and question the decision to join the BDS movement on their Facebook site.

So, while unfortunately we cannot produce a list of Norwegian goods to counter boycott, we can at least offer the rest of the world a wholesome thigh-slapping laugh for having the weirdest BDS supporters ever!

And to make matters even more risible, so far all the calls to boycott Israeli goods in Norway have only led to increased imports from Israel. On the other hand, Norwegian sales to Israel have contracted, probably not the result the BDS jokes were hoping for!

Ach, Cheers!