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November 11, 2015 7:17 pm

Major American Jewish Groups ‘Dismayed’ by ‘Misguided’ EU Labeling of Israeli Settlement Products

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The Psagot settlement in Israel. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Psagot settlement in Israel. Photo: Wikipedia.

American Jewish groups across the board echoed Israel’s harsh condemnation of new European Union guidelines for labeling products made in territory captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Jewish advocacy group the American Jewish Committee said it was “dismayed” by the EU announcement. “Today’ s decision will play into the hands of those determined to demonize the Jewish state; offend mainstream Israelis who favor territories compromise and encourage maximalist Palestinian positions,” said the director of AJC’s Transatlantic Institute, Daniel Schwammenthal.

Schwammenthal warned that the activists promoting a boycott of all Israeli products would ultimately use these new guidelines as fuel for their political activities. Referring to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, Schwammenthal said, “This BDS movement will no doubt use these EU rules to intensify its shameful policy of picketing shops and intimidating consumers and business owners to outright ban Israeli settlement products as a first step in their strategy to boycott all Israeli goods.”

As Israeli leaders have said, Schwammenthal stressed the singling out of Israel from among the world’s nations regarding the labeling of products from disputed territories.

Schwammenthal also criticized the EU’s labeling of products manufactured in the Golan Heights — such as award winning Israeli wines — saying regular Israelis would see this as removed from the reality on the ground, where neighboring Syria has crumbled under several years of sectarian violence. This could have the effect of “weakening the EU’s standing as a credible player in the region,” he said.

WJC CEO Robert Singer called the move a “misguided attempt to hamper trade with Israel and to exert political pressure on the government in Jerusalem.”

“This does nothing to advance the peace process. On the contrary, all it will do is strengthen those hardliners in the Middle East and in Europe who reject the Jews’ right to live in peace in the land of Israel,” he said.

The Anti-Defamation League called the EU regulations unproductive and one-sided, criticizing the EU for applying external pressure with the hopes of achieving a breakthrough in the peace process.

“It is for Palestinians and Israelis – not the Europeans – to determine future borders between them, not Europe. European countries have not had much luck drawing boundaries in the Middle East,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

“In fact, this unhelpful policy to apply diplomatic pressure only on Israel only serves to reinforce Palestinian unwillingness to rejoin direct negotiations with Israel,” he said in a statement.

“If the EU wants to play a positive role in the Middle East peace process, it will not pressure Israel through economic sanctions, but use its influence to bring the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table, and end the wave of Palestinian incitement and violence,” he said.

B’nai B’rith International said the move was an anti-Israel measure that obstructed any resolution with the Palestinians.

“It also encourages and reinforces the Palestinian narrative at a dire time when anti-Semitic incitement is thriving and there have been more than 60 knife, gun and car attacks on Israeli Jews,” the group said.

“The European Union would better spend its time encouraging Palestinians to get to the negotiating table, as these guidelines only prolong the process, rather than resolve it,” B’nai B’rith said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meanwhile called the move hypocritical and said it held the Jewish state to a double standard, “dealing just with Israel and not the 200 other conflicts throughout the world.”

“The European Union decided to label Israel alone and we are unwilling to accept the fact that Europe is actually labeling the side that’s being attacked with terrorism,” he said, according to Army Radio.

The new Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said in a press release that he was appalled by the EU move, saying it amounted to condemning the “entire Zionist enterprise as Racist [sic] and discriminatory.”

He said just as the 1975 UN resolution saying Zionism was a form of racism was repealed, “so too will this disgraceful decision be retracted.”

The new guidelines apply mainly to Israeli agricultural goods and products, such as olive oil, fruits and vegetables, eggs and poultry, as well as cosmetics, from Israeli owned businesses and farms operating in the disputed territories of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

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  • Malcolm Jackson

    The Moslem loving EU causing more problems in the world. The EU is causing enough trouble in Europe without interfering in other peoples affairs. Good job that the EU is falling apart and shoud be gone soon.

  • IMO all Friends of Israel, all Jews and “Jewish Roots” people and all Europeans who see what their continent has become, should buy the marked Israeli products and perhaps avoid buying EU products and turn to other countries, China or similar. EU should not interfere in our politics in such a blatant manner, in particular as they do buy from China, cyprus, Morocco, Kashmir, other places.

  • steven L

    Where did antisemitism start?

    • Tondaleia

      Antisemitism as we know it began with the New Testament, written in Greek and codified in Latin by Rome when it adopted Christianity in the 4th century CE.
      “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
      —John 8:44
      “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”
      —Matthew 27:24-25
      “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.”
      —Acts 7:51-52
      “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”
      —Titus 1:10-11
      “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
      —1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
      “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
      —Revelation 3:9

    • Tondaleia

      From the 4th century on, priests and preachers throughout Europe encouraged pogroms, expulsions, inquisitions, forced conversions followed by the murder, torture, and expulsions. They really hit their stride with the Holocaust.

  • Myron Slater

    Another anti-Semitic action by the European countries to pick on the Jewish State. Didn’t they do enough to the Jews during the Holocaust?

  • Ephraim

    The EU credible? Only to antisemites, of which it is one, front and center.

  • Max Genghis Cohen

    It would be useful to know the identity of the leaders of the European Union who were behind the new guidelines. Their political leanings might explain their motives. Would anyone be shocked to learn of a leftist cabal?

  • Eugene Levich

    Letter to the Delegation of the European Union to the United States

    Why does the EU intend to label Israeli West Bank products? It is an insidious, deceitful, and disguised way to participate in the BDS movement, whose only objective is the total destruction of Israel. No “two-state solution” is intended. The EU does not boycott Saudi Arabian exports despite the Saudis’ bombings of civilian populations in Yemen; neither does the EU boycott Chinese products despite China’s brutal suppression of Tibetan independence and its mounting threats against Taiwan; nor does the EU boycott Turkish products despite Turkish subjugation of Kurdistan. This list could go on and on . . .

    The EU boycott of Israeli products, therefore, is clearly exceptional and discriminatory and, consequently, clearly anti-Semitic, revealing Europe’s ever-present fascistic sub-cultural tendencies. Israel continues to hold Arab territory only because no official Palestinian representative has ever offered Israel peace terms that would permit its continued existence as a Jewish state. This has been true since the proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. The Arab population of Israel enjoys more rights than that of practically every Arab country. The Arab population of East Jerusalem has repeatedly indicated it prefers Israeli rule to Palestinian, as anyone sane would. The EU boycott’s major consequence is to cause large numbers of Palestinian workers to lose their jobs.

    In response to this unreasonable EU boycott of Israeli goods I, henceforth, will immediately cease buying European products sold here in America. In addition, I am selling all European securities I own, including any stock or bond funds with a significant European component. I will neither vacation in Europe nor travel on any European airline or ship.

    I am sending copies of this letter to everyone I know, as well as to various schools and organizations, requesting them to follow my example until the EU ends its prejudiced, hypocritical, counterproductive, bigoted, and anti-Semitic policy against the most pluralistic, humane, inventive, productive, open-minded, and democratic society in the Middle East.


    E. Levich, Ph. D.

    • Errol Daniels

      Dear Professor Levich,

      You hit the nail on the head. Keep the faith.

      Errol Daniels