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Danish Workers Union stands firm on boycotting Israel

Israeli businessman argues case in Denmark, but fails to end boycott

By Ellis Shuman
Israel Insider
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 safety.

"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 your business."

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 Radix Technologies can be contacted at


Danish union calls for Israel boycott [18 April 2002]