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February 3, 2017 4:53 pm

French CEO: EU Regulations Singling Out Israeli Settlement Products ‘Detrimentally Affect’ European Businesses

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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The flag court outside the European Parliament building. Photo: Rama via Wikimedia Commons.

The flag court outside the European Parliament building. Photo: Rama via Wikimedia Commons.

EU regulations singling out Israeli products made in the West Bank “detrimentally affect” European businesses, the head of a French food company said this week.

Addressing lawmakers at a European Parliament hearing on Thursday, Sydney Knafou — the CEO of Casimex — stated, “I am here before you today, as a European businessman and a supporter of European integration, to alert you to the fact that these regulations may have serious consequences with regard to my ability to compete globally, my existing contracts in the European Union, and, ultimately, the jobs I created for my European employees.”

“For several years now, but, crucially, in the last few months, my business has been disrupted by unhelpful statements made at the EU level which are politically motivated and unrelated to any legitimate European business concern,” Knafou went on to say. “With the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016, this trend is increasing.”

“I am told by my lawyers that the UN Security Council resolution is not binding and that its legality is, at the very least, questionable. However, the resolution still calls on states to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the internationally-recognized territory of the State of Israel, and the disputed territories, controlled by Israel for all purposes relevant to EU commerce, since 1967.”

He continued:

I am not a lawyer or a foreign policy expert, and I am in no way a representative of the State of Israel. I am, however, an experienced European businessman, who is gravely aware of the potential for harm which will be suffered by EU businesses if these policy suggestions are adopted or incorporated as commercial regulations by the European Commission.

In addition to the undue commercial and legal pressures my business would face as a result of such a move by the Commission, is the vulnerability that my business, my employees, my suppliers and my clients would face from the violent activists who will take every opportunity to attack my business or to scare my clients.

This is untenable. This is also unacceptable for a business, like mine, that should be protected, not undermined, by the European Union.

Referring to the settlement product labeling notice issued by the European External Action Service (EEAS) in November 2015, Knafou noted that while it was not legally binding, it was “presented as interpreting binding EU law. It says that products that I import from Israel, with Israeli certificates and according with EU customs legislation, cannot be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’ However, the notice fails to indicate exactly how these products should be labeled.”

“It is unworkable, even for our lawyers, because it is vague and its mandate is undefined,” he stated. “Moreover, it is completely inconsistent with the precedents set by various European courts, including the European Court of Justice…What does the European Union want EU businesses to do in this context? Trying to discern the EU’s intent is a costly endeavor which does not in any way protect or advance European commerce.”

“There is no justification,” Knafou declared, “for penalizing EU businesses on the basis of foreign policy objectives. None…this disrupts trade in a manner that is incompatible with international trade law, without a proper legal basis under EU law, and in a manner that is completely disproportionate in light of the objectives of the European Union.”

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  • Thought is Free

    The EU bureaucrats are idiots who are systematically destroying the EU with their stupid regulations. An out of control bureaucracy, not answerable to the people, is a threat to democracy and good government. They have degraded the entire concept of the EU to become a nest-feathering “elite” and need to be brought under control. Britain, seeing the impossibility of this situation, has opted out and other countries may well follow.

  • Mike AU

    I feel sorry for this guy, he has to deal with the UN
    agenda, the EU agenda, hire a lawyer, worry about
    violent activists, just to sell products from Israel.

    Meanwhile Iran test missiles, Nth Korea test missiles,
    while threatening the existence of other nations.
    Both the UN and the EU have their priorities wrong,
    I don’t think anyone is going to be vapourised by
    food from Israel.

  • Isaac barr

    The effect of the ban of Israel products resulted in shortage of produce all over Europe where lettuce is suddenly unavailable. More, high tech Israel products are in every phone and computer of anti Israel European legislators as INTEL Israel supplies 90% of all computer and phone chips. Lastly, many Israeli factories are located in Europe and US and many Israeli boycotted products are produced by Chinese owned Israel factories. Israel markets shifted to India, Japan, China and Indonesia. Let the European rot.

  • tiki

    This is the EU for you!

    Hateful anti Semites, willing to let the world blow up as long as “”the Jews are punished””.

    Well, thank G-d there is a new world order now and the EU will have to adapt or go under….which might not so bad at all!

  • Phil Lesh Fan

    The biggest concern that EU producers and other companies should, hopefully, be very afraid of is that so many of us have, or will, discontinue buying anything, visiting or otherwise spending our money with, anything from that part of the world.

  • Nuritg

    This is what happens when you mess with the Jews, you lose. The EU is anti-Semitic body shamefully acts against Israel’s interests.

  • Nuritg

    Israel must signed up to Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and END the charade it has been in for years. The Jews are the indigenous people of the land from the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea and all other people on the land have no right to it. Jews are the indigenous people from time immemorial that is it!

  • Nuritg

    This is what happens when you harm the Jews; those who harm the Jews pay the price. The EU is anti-Semitic; They have no right to dictate to Israel their political ideas, through economic hardship, because they are clueless and are dictates by Lefty foolishness. Look at the mess they have created in Europe. Time to tell the idiot bureaucrats in Brussels to pack up and go home and install European nationalism, or Europe will become a Moslem continent and will look like Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Iraq! What a shame!

  • Jonah

    It’s not the EU anymore it is the European Union of Islamic states. As Jews are pushed out of Europe they need additional space in Israel to House them. That is why the EU, France, Britain et al and others so adamately oppose additional settlements in Israel. If they do not oppose these settlements their country’s will be burned down by radicals in there midst that have taken over their country’s. Their plans are nothing less than Hitler’s….bar their escape.

  • Peace is only possible when Jews flourish in the sacred ancestral Land of Yhuda-Shomron.

    There must be restoration of the Yhudim.

    And a hope for restoration of other peoples elsewhere.

    The human species needs Jews to flourish in Judea-Samaria.

    For the sake of peace on our planet everywhere.