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November 6, 2015 6:03 am

Knesset Member Launches Symbolic Campaign to Label European Products to Protest ‘Antisemitic’ Policy

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MK Michael Oren at a supermarket in Israel, where he is demonstrating his campaign to label products made in Europe. Photo: Facebook.

MK Michael Oren at a supermarket in Israel demonstrating his campaign to label products made in Europe. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli Knesset member Michael Oren has launched a campaign to label European products in Israeli supermarkets, ahead of the European parliament’s announcement of guidelines on how to label Israeli products from the settlements in the West Bank.

“We want to show the Europeans how we feel when they mark our products,” said Oren, speaking to Israeli Channel 2‘s Oded Ben-Ami from the aisles of an unnamed Israeli supermarket.

Oren, who posted a video of the interview on his Facebook page, clarified that he was not calling for a boycott, “but just as the Europeans want consumers to know where the Israeli products are coming from, it’s also important that Israelis know that the moment they purchase crackers from Spain or beer from Belgium, you see, or chocolates from Germany, they should know that they are supporting policy that is actually antisemitic.”

The American-born Oren — who served as Israel’s ambassador to the US and subsequently wrote Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, a best-selling book about his experiences with the Obama administration — noted that although there are many territorial disputes and “occupations” in the world, the EU “does not label products from Turkey, China or India, just Israel.”

He also attacked the EU for choosing not to criticize the Palestinian Authority for refusing to negotiate with Israel or to condemn Palestinian incitement.

Oren said the labeling of Israeli settlement products had whiffs of former manifestations of European antisemitism, such as the labeling of Jewish products.

“Europe has a very long history of antisemitism, and this includes labeling products made by Jews. We are returning to very dark times,” said Oren. “If they can label our products there, then we can label theirs here.”

The EU plan to label settlement products is widely condemned by Israeli officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared it to Nazi boycotts against Jews. European diplomats say the labeling will put the spotlight on the line separating Israel’s internationally recognized borders, and the territories it came to control after its victory in the 1967 Six Day War, where the Israeli settlements whose products would be labeled are located.

The European parliament is expected to announce new labeling guidelines next week.

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  • Mick Bolton

    I hope they do label Israeli products in our supermarkets. It will make them easier to spot and BUY!

  • I fully agree that this is a good start.

  • Elisheva

    I think all products should be clearly labeled so we can buy only from friendly countries. Support Israeli Products First.

  • Let’s take a brief look at what has been going on in Israel for the last month. The Palestinians launched yet another intifada against Israel. We have people who are being stabbed to death while waiting to board a public bus. People trying to worship at the western wall are subjected to serious injury and in some cases the victims of these crimes succumb to their injuries. Mass riots and destruction of peoples homes and stores. Motorists are being killed by having large and heavy rocks dropped on their vehicles from overpasses. Fires being set ablaze causing more death and destruction. People are afraid to go to work or school because they don’t know if they will ever return whole and alive. The examples I just recanted are just a few examples of the barbarism that has been perpetrated against the people of Israel by the Palestinians. Yet, we don’t hear a word of condemnation and more importantly legal action against the Palestinians. Instead, the EU continues their unjustified and anti Semitic acts against Israel. Over at the U.N., the silence is deafening from Ban ki Moon and the rest of the fine and upstanding members of the U.N. Instead, the U.N. calls on both sides to stop their aggression. The problem with these remarks is that they are inaccurate. Their is only one group or whatever you want to call them that is at fault, the Palestinians. I applaud Mr. Oren’s efforts. But, they don’t go far enough. Why not beat the bigots at their own game. I believe that all products from countries that are involved with boycotting Israeli products should be identified and pulled from the shelves. Likewise, those from the EU, U.N. and any other entity should face legal penalties for practicing hate crimes. Enough is enough.

  • Andria

    It’s so now necessary to just declare greater Israel and stop all nonsense about an occupation.the world ignites Turkey in Cyprus, Spain in West Sahara, and now Russia in Crimea so why bother about Jews in Judea?
    Jordan was the occupier, not Israel which returned to the land and for whom it’s always been home. Enough already!

  • Excellent idea and not simply symbolic. It will remind Israeli shoppers they can send a message back by voting with their purse . Cannot wait to read Oren’s book!

  • len

    Do European countries really give a damn whether Israel buys their products or not? Its a small market they could probably survive quite well without and feel quite self righteous about not buying Israeli products and services. If the European Union decided to not do business with Israel at all it would be quite a scramble for the Israeli economy to make up for this deficit. Sometimes actions need to be well thought out before carrying them out, in economics as well as war. Both done rashly can destroy a nation!

  • Rose Rhodes

    Hopefully Canada, Australia and the US will support Israel and also boycott those European countries. Afterall, how smart can they be when they killed off 6 million jews that improved their societies and are importing 5 million quran followers that will soon eliminate the native citizens? I guess there is a God.

  • Fred

    The NAZI new revival by the EU is timely when considering the precarious position of the Jews of Europe. It started by Hitler to separate & Isolate the Jews from the rest of the population, next it will bring back the Star of David. I marveled at the vigorous denial by Germans of the Holocaust with “Ich habe nichts gewust “( I did not know )
    The complicity of Europe in the mass murder has re surfaced in the complicity of BDS. There is no BDS of Russia who took away Prusia, but Israel has no rights as a sovereign country in the eyes of the Arab favouring of European Union

  • HaroldT

    Why does Mr Oren not publicly challenge Merkel with renewal of Nazi boycotts. After all, Germany is the dominant voice in the EU.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    No; just selectively boycott their products.