University of Oslo instructed that their G4S ban is illegal

Several months back, the University of Oslo banned the Norwegian security services company G4S, on the very unlikely ground that its sister company in Israel is said to contribute to Human rights breaches. Not only did the University of Oslo rescind their contract with G4S, but denied them participation in the public tender for new contracts. This, the Norwegian G4S found ludicrous and intolerable and took the University to court. Now the verdict has been read, and the University of Oslo has been told that the pretext of alleged human rights breaches is not a valid reason for shutting a legal company out of the market, and that they now have to allow the G4S to enter the public tender tender. It is particularly invalid to cite human rights breaches by a foreign sister company that does not participate in the Norwegian market to block a Norwegian company.
So that leaves the University of Oslo with a lot of egg on face, and with a very tatty reputation it will take some effort to repair.

MIFF gives an account 

of a complaint from the security company G4S that were excluded from offering security services to the University of Oslo because of a campaign that were driven by activists from Palestinakomiteen, Norsk Foklehjälp and one of the Unions (Fagforbundet).

The University excluded G4S because a branch of th ecompany has activities in prisons and other facilities in the occupied territories and UIO considered it to be contrary to their ethical principles to cooperate with “such a company”.
The G4S complaint won approval from the committee for “complaints on acquisitions in the public sector”, so now the UIO are forced to consider the offer also from G4S.  ( G4S had the function up to now but the contract was terminated after the activists campaign last year).
Rector Ole-Petter Ottersen says he accpets the conclusion although he disagrees with the reasons for the decision. The reasons (Haven’t read the details) seem to be a) The Norwegian G4S branch are not to be considered part of the Israel G4S company b) There University can not exclude a Norwegian company from giving an offer because of the University’s subjective ethical judgements.
MIFF refer to a report earlier this week in VG

3 comments for “University of Oslo instructed that their G4S ban is illegal

  1. de Bacle
    October 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    The University of Oslo here stretched reasoning to ridiculously inconsistent levels of logic in order to distance their holy ethical selves from a, presumed “unethical”, company. This is not credible. It is just contemporary naive Norwegian elitist anti-Israel reflexes.

    In comparison, earlier this year the EU decided on new guidelines to make sure EU countries don’t support organizations and companies active in the “occupied territories”.

    Brussels therefore dictated limitations when EU companies/countries collaborate with Israel companies or organizations:
    a) It disallows donations / subsidies / support of an Israeli company
    which has its head office in the occupied territories.
    b) If the Israel based organization or company has activities in the occupied territories it is required but also sufficient for the Israel company to guarantee that it does not transfer donated funds/ subsidies to the company activities in the occupied territories.
    c) The guidelines only affect cooperation that involves activity in the occupied territories, not a branch of the company or sister company with activity in (non-occupied) Israel.

    So the Eu directives aren’t even relevant for interaction of EU countries with the activity of an Israel company in Europe, even less so for a “sister company” in Europe, and microscopically so for an American (or other multinational) company with a branch (also) in Israel.
    But even in the most strict case, it only relates to funds being transferred to activities in the occupied territories.

    The EU rules highlight the “not thought through” Israel-bashing refluxes at the University of Oslo and the naivety of the nincompoop anti-Israel activists.

    The University rector’s “ethical advisors” are here making a fool of him and the University. They stretch their pretended ethical considerations to lengths that would be extreme even when taking the controversial EU directives as a starting point.

    MIFF also correctly identifies the astounding hypocrisy of UIO; G4S companies have activities in loads of countries without even the most basic human rights but this, to the University Rector, does not render the company “unethical”.

    It is hard not to conclude that, to the University of Oslo, it takes Jews to make the company unfit.

    Ole-Petter, are you loosing it ?

  2. martin
    October 29, 2013 at 5:14 am

    de Bacle, may I just a add a little something to add to your excellent review?

    The official boycott of Israel is based in a most politically correct, humane, social, peaceful democratic, friendly state called Syria. It is in fact based in Damascus. Back in the 1970-1980 era, most countries in the world succumbed to this particularly dirty form of warfare. That is until the USA informed those countries that if they continued to have their paperwork confirming that no Jews were employed and no connections were with Israel, they themselves would be punished trade wise by the USA.

    I was actively involved in London with the official anti boycott committee, because I made a nuisance of myself at a public meeting. They were forced to put up with me, when I asked questions they would not answer. The officials asked for other questions, when they were informed that my questions were balanced, correct and should be answered (please note Norwegian, that some of us do fight – successfully). I was very pleased to have a book written by the authors Terrence Prittie and Walter H Nelson signed by them. The former was an Irish gentleman editor of the Guardian newspaper before it became a gutter rag (as he called it). The latter is American, and the book mentioned just what was going on in the world of anti Israel BDS and named the companies, countries that were supporting it.

    I cannot remember the correct saying now about acquiescence. However, there is the primary boycott of Israel (country, organisation, person involved) The secondary boycott is boycotting another because they deal directly with another who works with Israel and the third, I believe is called tertiary boycott which is the third degree. Any who have dealings with Israel, directly, secondary or through other any other parties whatsoever will be boycotted.

    This is something that Abbas is demanding continually, and his stooges in Europe go along with it in many cases. Oh yes, in addition to demanding (note demanding) more releases of convicted murderers, he is also demands e. Jerusalem (including the Old City,(with 4 quarters, Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim) from which the Jews were banished and ethnically cleansed with the help of the British in 1948 and a return to the 1948 lines, called the Auschwitz Lines by Abba Eban

    I do believe that the university and all establishment forms of governance prefer the Arabs to the Jews to who they feel threatened by, due to their better education and nonviolent, even submissive reaction to events, unlike the threats of all kinds from their Arab friends.

    Have a happy….

  3. de Bacle
    October 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Martin: “I do believe that the university and all establishment forms of governance prefer the Arabs to the Jews to who they feel threatened by, due to their better education and nonviolent, even submissive reaction to events, unlike the threats of all kinds from their Arab friends.”

    You may be right there….
    The biggest threat is from those who threaten your elitist self-image , your ego.
    At the same time, benevolence to those who really hate, threaten and fight you, because you judge them inferior anyway.
    (What Gerstenfeld calls “Humanitarian Racism” ?).

Comments are closed.