Foreign Ministry: British Trade Union Boycott Not Unexpected

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's Foreign Ministry wasn't surprised by the British labor federation's recommendation to boycott Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), calling it "part of an orchestrated and pre-planned campaign."

Trade Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Brendan Barber announced the decision on Thursday at the group's annual conference in Liverpool.

Barber said TUC's boycott was more acceptable than the Fire Brigade Union's call for an across-the-board boycott of Israeli products.

The 6.5 million member labor federation called on the British government to end the European Union's preferential trade agreement with Israel, ban all goods produced in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, condemn "Israeli military aggression and the continuing blockade of Gaza," and end all arms sales to Israel.

According to Barber, the federation's General Council "worked hard" to create a statement the full membership could "agree on."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the boycott would not produce the "desired results."

"People who think that boycotting a democratic country will promote peace and reconciliation are living in an upside down world," Palmor said.

"Not only will they not contribute one ounce to the cause of peace, they will produce the same effect as driving on the wrong side on a Continental road. All this [boycott] does is damage the credibility of those who launched the boycott," he said.

Israeli Ambassador to Britain, Ron Proser, also spoke out against the trade federation's announcement.

"The TUC's leaders should hang their heads in shame at this reckless call," Proser said. 

"They have betrayed their own constituency by allowing the TUC to be hijacked as a political tool for extremists," he said.

"This one-sided approach subjects the State of Israel to a despicable double standard not experienced by any other nation, including dictatorships such as Libya, which recently celebrated the return of a mass murderer," Proser said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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