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December 2, 2015 8:56 pm

Knesset Speaker at Germany’s Bundestag: I Fear Soon the Labeling of People

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein aired staunch Israeli disapproval of the EU’s decision to go ahead with settlement labeling during his address to the German parliament on Wednesday, Israel’s Walla news website reported.

Quoting 19th century German author Heinrich Heine, who wrote that “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings,” Edelstein admonished the Bundestag, “I fear that wherever they label products based on their place of manufacture, they will also, someday, label people based on where they’re from.”

Edelstein repeated Israeli concerns that the labeling of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and from the Golan Heights galvanized the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which he said acts under the pretense of humanitarian concern but is really motivated by “blind hatred” for Israel.

Edelstein also said that Palestinian workers would be the first to feel the brunt of measures like labeling settlement products. He said Israelis and Palestinians are most likely to encounter one another in “Israeli factories, which employ thousands of Israelis and Palestinians in the industrial areas of Judea and Samaria,” which are the Hebrew names for the West Bank.

“Ironically, the boycott will actually bring about more damage to Palestinians, and could lead them to a path of poverty and despair,” said Edelstein, once again framing the guidelines for labeling products from the internationally disputed West Bank settlements with the issue of an Israel boycott.

The EU has said the settlement labeling is not motivated by politics or, as some critics have alleged, antisemitism, but is simply a matter of EU regulations related to products produced in “occupied territory.” Israeli critics of the EU move have pointed out that Europe made no similar distinction for products originating in the disputed territories of, inter alia, Tibet, Western Sahara and northern Cyprus.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Bundestag President Prof. Norbert Lammert repeated Germany’s rejection of the labeling policy. A major German department store recently restored Golan Heights wines to its shelves after removing them following the new enforcement of the EU labeling guidelines.

Edelstein, a son of Holocaust survivors, was visiting Berlin to mark 50 years of Israeli-German relations.

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  • Sherlock Holmes

    I understand the EU guidelines are NOT compulsory and EU states can opt out. It looks like the Israeli govt may finally publish the Levy report on the West Bank, disputing the so-called Israeli ‘occupation’. When Jordan drove the Jews out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1948 only TWO countries accepted Jordan’s claim. When Jordan finally renounced its claim, should the West Bank and Jerusalem have reverted to the British Mandatory Govt ? Should it have reverted to Ottoman Turkey? Or should the heartland of Biblical Israel — Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem et al — been reunited with Israel?

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Perhaps not in Germany, at least not now but yellow stars or whatever the analog of that today are certainly returning to Europe. That’s not even a seriously debated point any longer.

  • James Hay

    I Hate It When The American People Themselves Are Blamed For The Actions Of The Politicians And Government Which For The Past Few Decades Have Not Been Representative Of Either The Will Or In The Best Interest Of It’s Citizens. To Wrongly Place Responsibility Upon The American People For The Recklessly Dangerous Acts Of An Rogue Government Smacks of Boundless Ignorance Of The True Nature Of Their Character

  • The labeling of consumer products from Israel is just another form or term denoting antisemitism; as is The erroneous term ‘territories occupied’. This term was first used in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967. Guess what, the aggressor Arab Nations and Palestinians lost the war that they started. So what do they do, the same old tactic, they creep back to the UN attempting to recover their losses. Everyone knows the UN position is always against Israel. A Palestinian state never was and never should be. The UN must support and respect the Nation State of Israel and protect it’s borders from further intrusion from its Arab neighbors.

    • HamanSlayer

      HAROLD LIPSCOMB — well said; but we should add that of the 191 “nation” members of the UNO (which managed to have a former Nazi as one of its secretaries-general) at least 59 are Muslim or Muslim-controlled. Add to that some of the former Soviet satellites and some “third world” countries which hate the USA and therefore are almost AUTOMATICALLY against its ally Israel; the ones (in Europe especially) who have been dependent on Arabs for oil, and you have a majority readily voting that the Sun is a block of ice and revolves around the earth!

  • Lauren Goldman

    Of course ‘Europe made no similar distinction for products originating in the disputed territories of, inter alia, Tibet, Western Sahara and northern Cyprus,’ because they are not Israel. Makes perfect sense, from an anti-Semitic point of view.

  • Robert Davis

    This labeling discrimination has been brought about by french and belgian governments. They will never pay too much for their meddling in the arab/Israel conflict even if these two end up vitrified soon.

  • Tony Trenton

    I see this as another Muslim ploy to instigate the “Fake PA”
    to desperation and further the confrontation with Israel.

    Without Israeli companies to pay them a wage they have nothing.As their means of earning a living becomes desperate.

    The corrupt, Fake PA Authority Abbas and Co. Take all the money they milk from the EU /US cash cow and build themselves $30,000,000 palaces.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    I wish to remind the entire Algemeiner staff for a second time that there is no such place as the “West Bank.” Just as it is contemptuous that the EU demand that products manufactured in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights be labeled with settlement labelling, it is an absolutely demeaning and untoward label that a Jewish newspaper employ the label West Bank for disputed territory! The true nomenclature used to apply to the areas in question is Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights. The problem with America and the American mentality is that the leadership has yet to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, but then again, America has yet to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That is also America’s problem. Although I am a duo citizen of America and Israel, I know that the Golan Heights is part and parcel of Israel and I know that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel. It would be nice for the American Jewish community to stand along with Israel on these two de facto understandings. Judea and Samaria are mostly disputed territories at this time. Both of my parents were born in Chicago, Illinois, and so was I.

  • Mickey Oberman

    ““Ironically, the boycott will actually bring about more damage to Palestinians, and could lead them to a path of poverty and despair,” said Edelstein,…”
    I believe this is exactly what Islamic leaders want. They care nothing for the suffering of their people. Saudi Arabia is a good example.
    Islamic leaders both religious and military and political want to create as much havoc in western democracies as possible thus upsetting those countries equilibrium and weakening them for the Muslim conquest.
    If all it takes is rioting by resident Muslims and the deaths of many thousands of them the leaders are quite prepared and willing to make that sacrifice.

  • James Hay

    The Whole Labeling Concept is Completely Divorced From Moral Norms And Should Have Never Been Accepted In Civilized Society. The Europeans Have Never Been Able To Learn From Their Past Mistakes.The Europeans’Anti-Jewish Shame Raise It’s Ugly Head In Munich When They Were Complicit In The Murder Of Jewish Olympic Athletes By Allowing Their Escape From Justice. And Now They Shame Themselves Again With This Labeling Nonsense. It Only Serves To Show How Ultimately Stupid Supposedly Dignified And Intelligent People Really Are. it’s No Great Wonder Why The EU Is On It’s Way Out Of Existence The Sooner The Better!

  • EU boycott of Israeli product has nothing to do with settlements! The boycott is for supporting terror within Israel! Palestinians lose jobs! Means terror! Mean EU is the one who support terror! EU is a self destructive culture by historical evidence which Israel should be aware of, and therefore Mr. Edelstein should not point out other countries intern affairs! Respect history!

  • Years ago seeing some Israeli products sold at a store prompted me to return for such. There I was told rather bluntly, the company deliberately was not carrying and Israeli product. Meanwhile, several outrightly abusive regime’s merchandised goods were sold,no questions asked.
    Saddening. One law for all people, That should be,and not hearsay for evidence.

  • Fine statement

  • Israeli critics of the EU move have pointed out that Europe made no similar distinction for products originating in the disputed territories of, inter alia, Tibet, Western Sahara and northern Cyprus.

    Mr.Y.Edelstein should say “Europe made no similar distinctions for products originating in the disputed territories round the world” and no pointing out other countries intern political affairs! Man can not point out others for justifying own political concern. Everybody knows what EU does! And therefore no need to point out other countries! Respect! To be respected! Especially in Germany!

  • Julian Clovelley

    the worst labelling in this matter is the Israeli Jewish labelling of the occupants of the West Bank between “Occupiers” and “Occupied”