Workers Union stands firm on boycotting Israel
businessman argues case in Denmark, but fails to end boycott
May 8, 2002
After a Danish workers' union cancelled a preliminary order of
computer hardware from an Israeli high tech company due to the IDF's
"rough" actions in the Palestinian territories, the firm's
chief executive launched an Internet campaign to try to reverse
the union's decision. But even a face-to-face meeting with the union's
chairman didn't succeed in changing the Danish boycott of Israel.
"He's a stubborn man," Dov Shoam, CEO of Radix Technologies
said, after meeting in Copenhagen with Jens Peter Hansen, head of
SiD - the General Workers Union in Denmark. "He was maybe willing
to listen, but we didn't receive the smallest hint that he was willing
to change his position," Shoam told Yediot Aharonot. "Maybe
we will have to 'bombard' them some more until they realize that
they were wrong."
Shoam was referring to a massive Internet campaign he launched
after Hansen announced that SiD was canceling its order of 60 units
of the "Radix Protector" net solution card. The order
was valued at about $10,000, the Jerusalem Post reported, but would
have led to follow-up deals valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
Shoam's correspondence with Hansen received a good amount of publicity
on the Internet, and resulted in SiD receiving more than 5,000 e-mail
messages from people identifying with Shoam, Yediot Aharonot said.
Shoam, himself, received over 4,000 messages of support.
"For the moment, when the Israeli military is behaving so
rough in the Palestinian Areas, nor I or my Union feel that it's
is right to make business with companies from your country,"
Hansen wrote in his cancellation notification to Shoam. Hansen expressed
his hope that the "ugly war" between Israel and Palestine
would end soon.
Hansen's letter was based on a statement issued by SiD last month,
in which the Danish union recommended "a boycott not only of
goods from the occupied areas but also of goods from Israel."
Since the mid-1990s, SiD has worked on development projects with
the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).
"Let me clearly state that I have no problem choosing between
doing business with you or supporting my government in its effort
to protect my daughter's life," Shoam wrote in a reply to Hansen
posted on the Radix company Web site. "Because of your support
in terror [sic] I hold you personally responsible for my daughter's
"I really hope that the Israeli government will not bend under
your unfair and unbalanced pressure and [will] continue with the
work of rooting out terror from this business. Yes, even if I lose
Shoam's meeting with Hansen was attended by Israeli Ambassador
to Denmark Carmi Gillon. Following the meeting, SiD issued a statement
announcing, "There is no change in our position. We call for
the hundreds of thousands of members of the union to refrain from
buying products manufactured in Israel."
"I did what the official authorities [in Israel] should have
done," Shoam said. "I used the Internet well. I received
messages from all parts of [Israeli] society. What was dearest to
me were the messages from the bereaved parents [of terror victims].
I believe that without trying to do so, I served them well."
Jens Peter Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Radix Technologies
can be contacted at email@example.com.