Norway became the second Scandinavian country in a week to announce limits on funding for nongovernmental organizations supporting boycotts of Israel, following in the footsteps of its southern neighbor Denmark.
“Boycott creates distance, while the Norwegian government believes in dialogue and cooperation to create mutual trust as part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” a Norwegian government statement said on Monday.“
This decision is another expression of the Norwegian government’s consistent opposition to boycotts against the State of Israel.”
The Norwegian announcement reflects the country’s 2018 governmental policy that refuses to support organizations promoting boycotts of Israel.
On Friday, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced that Copenhagen will cut back on support for Palestinian NGOs and introduce “rigorous” monitoring of the destination of Danish funds.
“Denmark supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I am sure it will strengthen the work that we will focus on Danish assistance in the future, so we are absolutely sure that the money is being used for the right purposes,” said Samuelsen.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan praised the Norwegian announcement, describing it as a “further, critical step in damaging the pro-boycott organizations,” and added that his ministry will continue to act to expose European funding of Palestinian organizations that delegitimize the State of Israel.
“The Domino effect continues… Norway won’t be the last,” Erdan wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised Denmark’s toughening up on Palestinian NGOs at his weekly cabinet meeting.
Norwegian Foreign Ministry statistics revealed that Norway distributed more than $68 million of development aid to Palestinian groups in 2016.