It’s the anniversary of Kristallnacht. So let’s boycott the Jews

My headline is only very slightly exaggerated, and even if the EU did not plan to announce their settlements-labelling guidelines precisely today, it is hard to ignore the eerie timing.

There is even more curious timing involved, as Honest Reporting explains:

Haaretz explains the curious timing:

The labeling guidelines had been due to be released a month ago, but the wave of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel caused their publication to be delayed. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had not wanted to release the information while Israelis were being murdered in the streets by Palestinians, senior Israeli officials noted.

On the other hand, the Israeli officials said Mogherini is under heavy pressure from several European countries, such as France and Sweden, to issue the guidelines on settlement product labeling and not delay their publication further. The monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers is to be held on November 16, and apparently Mogherini is interested in releasing the guidelines before that.

Not to mention other timing issues:

I’m sure the Europeans weren’t planning to pile on more pressure onto Netanyahu. Absolutely. Riiight.

The Jpost reports on Israel’s objections:

Israel took issue with the publication of the guidelines at time when the Palestinian leadership refuses to hold direct talks with Israel and during a period in which, since October 1, Palestinian assailants have killed 11 Israelis and wounded more than 100 in a series of some 60 attacks.

“If anything, the publication of these guidelines now gives the Palestinians a prize for their terrorism and obstinacy. It also supports the overall atmosphere of Israeli boycotts,” the official said.

The guidelines, to be published out of Brussels under the guidance of the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, do not need to be put to a vote.

The document simply puts together already existing guidelines and legislation with regard to “settlement products.” It is designed to help EU member states understand what the law is with regard to the labeling of such products.

The EU considers Jewish communities over the pre- 1967 lines in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank to be illegal under international law.

For over a decade, Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines have been exempt from Israel’s free trade agreement with the EU. Codes have been placed on the products to allow EU custom officials to properly determine if the products were produced within the Green Line or over it.

These guidelines would provide European consumers in stores with that same information.

Under pressure from the United States, the EU backed away from its push to publish the settlement guidelines during the nine-month negotiations period brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry that ended without any results in April 2014.

Tzippy Hotovely speaks at a Barkan (Shomron) factory

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippy Hotovely reiterated Netanyahu’s assertion that labelling settlement goods rewards terror:

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Spanish foreign minister on Thursday that a European Union plan to mark Israeli products made in factories over the Green Line is “rewarding terrorism.”

Hotovely told Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo at a Madrid meeting that the measure would also be ineffective, saying it “will not advance the peace process, and will not affect Israel’s economy.”

“The only ones to suffer from this directive is the thousands of Palestinians employees in factories in Judea and Samaria,” she said. referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

“While you mark products, our citizens are being stabbed in the streets,” she said. “This is rewarding terrorism.”

Interestingly, there was support for Hotovely’s words from the opposition too:

Hotovely’s words echoed those of opposition leader and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog, who made similar comments to Britain’s ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey.

Herzog said that while he supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he “strongly opposes this harmful and unnecessary measure,” and called it “a prize that Europe is bestowing for terror.”

“[It] serves only one purpose – continuing the hate and regional conflict. Marking these products is an act of violence by extremists who want to further inflame the situation and the EU is falling into their trap,” he said, according to a Hebrew-language transcript provided by Herzog’s spokesperson.

The Zionist Union chairman also warned that the move would be tantamount to a “blow to tens of thousands of Palestinians employed in factories in the West Bank under proper conditions who bring in an income for their families.”

His comments were a rare note of unity between Herzog and the ruling government, both vociferously opposed to the prospect of settlement goods being labeled.

Some Knesset members have come up with interesting initiatives to combat this boycott in all but name.

Kulanu MK Michael Oren labels European goods in a supermarket

MK Michael Oren, former Ambassador to the US and generally known for his benign tone and moderate views, not only lashed out in blistering terms at the antisemitic decision as he pointed out the hypocrisy of the EU, but went to a Jerusalem supermarket and began labelling EU goods in protest at the new EU guidelines:

Coming soon to a supermarket near you: a European Union label to warn Israeli consumers not to buy products make in European countries? Kulanu MK Michael Oren went to a supermarket on Emek Refaim Street in the capital’s German Colony neighborhood and placed blue EU stickers on crackers, cookies and beer from Spain, France and Germany to protest the pending publication of guidelines to enable EU member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

“The EU decision to label Israeli products is anti-Semitic,” Oren said. “There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world but the EU decided to single out Israel. They are not labeling products from China, India or Turkey – only Israel.”

Oren also pointed out other absurdities:

Oren complained that the decision completely ignored the fact that six Israeli prime ministers tried to negotiate a two-state solution but the PLO rejected their offers. He said the EU had not taken into account that the Palestinian Authority is refusing to negotiate with Israel and is actively inciting to commit terrorist attacks against Jews.

The former ambassador to the US questioned why the EU would take steps that could result in hundreds of Palestinians losing their jobs. But he said the oddest decision was to label products from the Golan Heights at a time when there is no functioning Syrian government with which Israel could negotiate a peace agreement.

“Do they want us to give the Golan to ISIS?” Oren asked.

“Israeli consumers need to know that when they buy European products, they are supporting the EU’s anti-Semitic policies.”

Oren, a historian, noted that European anti-Semitism predates Christianity. European labeling of Jewish products in the past led to dark days for Europe, he said.

Kol hakavod to Oren on his courage and his outspokenness. Proving his point on the EU’s double standards here are a couple of tweets from International Law Prof. Eugene Kontorovich:

Likud MK Miki Zohar wants to step up a degree and turn the boycott labelling of European products from a private initiative into an actual law:

Likud MK Miki Zohar is proposing a bill that would have Israel marking products imported from countries that label Israeli goods manufactured in Judea and Samaria.

“Products made in countries that boycott Israeli-made goods will be marked with a special stamp to discriminate against those boycotting countries,” Zohar said.

“By doing so, the Israeli consumer will be afforded the opportunity to decide whether to purchase products from countries that have joined the boycott of Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights or any other area of the country.”

The bill stipulates that importers and marketers would have to mark the relevant products. The proposal also includes a six-month prison sentence for any importer or marketer who fails to mark such products.

“The boycott organizations in Europe are cynically using terms like ‘human rights’ and the ‘fight against the Israeli occupation,’ but their political agenda is to boycott all of Israel and undermine its existence as the country of the Jewish people. This is gross hypocrisy and a double standard,” Zohar said.

Despite Israel’s protestations, the EU Ambassador to Israel defended the guidelines:

Products produced over the pre-1967 lines are not “made in Israel” and cannot be labeled that way, European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen said on Tuesday.

He spoke to The Jerusalem Post in defense of the pending publication of guidelines to enable member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

“The EU position is that we do not recognize Israeli authority beyond the Green Line. It is not part of Israel. It is not part of what we understand to be Israel’s international recognized borders,” said Faaborg-Andersen in a telephone interview.

“For that reason we cannot agree that products that come from settlements beyond the Green Line are labeled ‘made in Israel.’” Faaborg-Andersen will be one of the featured speakers at the fourth Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on November 18.

However there is plenty of evidence to prove that the EU is not only wrong-headed, it is acting illegally in labelling settlements goods.

Rob Harris who blogs at Eirael has written an extensive backgrounder explaining how the EU is violating international law with its stance towards Israeli settlements:

The EU Ambassador’s assertion affirms that the Union is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which allows Israel to administer the territories of East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the Golan Heights, etc., until peace settlements would come into effect. Eugene V. Rostow, one of the authors of Resolution 242 noted:

“Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces “from territories” it occupied during the Six-Day War — not from “the” territories nor from “all” the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The 1920 San Remo agreement effectively made the right to a Jewish national home in Palestine binding. Territorial borders were not defined but the biblical phrase “from Dan to Beersheba” was applied by British leaders. The identified territory would necessarily include Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

With respect to Resolution 242, the EU is violating international law on two counts: (1) failing to recognise Israel’s authority in said territories, and (2) by attempting to prevent Israel from coming to peace-deals with defensible borders.

The EU’s stance on the Golan Heights is particularly bizarre, given the fact that the zone was used by Syrian forces to almost continually harass Israel and its citizens until the 1967 Six Day War, which gave rise to Resolution 242.

Despite insistence to the contrary, the EU, whilst advocating for a two-state solution which it accuses Israel of undermining, is in fact acting in contravention of the very principles set down in successive plans for a two-state solution, based on Resolution 242. EU behaviour also delegitimises Israel’s just claim to a secure existence. Should a new labelling policy be enshrined in EU law, it will represent another epoch of a broad long-term strategy, which demonises the Jewish State in an effort toward Arab appeasement.

For an even more detailed and thorough expose of the illegality of the EU’s restrictions on Israeli products within the World Trade Organization click on the link (PDF) to read the article by International Law expert Prof. Eugene Kontorovich and Law Professor Avi Bell.

In fact a European MP, Baastien Belder, has already decried the guidelines as illegal so this little detail is not exactly unknown to the EU.

But it seems their hatred of Israel has overcome their common sense, their sense of justice, and even their desire to improve the lives of the Palestinians. In fact the ostensible beneficiaries of their new guidelines are most likely the ones who will suffer the most.

Israel must take the battle to the EU’s court and sue them for damages at the WTO and in any other forum where the illegality of this miserable decision can be proven. We have to learn to be more pro-active in defending our own interests.

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11 Responses to It’s the anniversary of Kristallnacht. So let’s boycott the Jews

  1. Reality says:

    The disgusting EU.I sincerely hope the law will pass re labelling European products.There really should be some site where we can download a list and pictures of products.
    Let them procure goods,high tech equipment,medications etc..frim Syria,Egypt,Gaza……

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s easy enough to find out where a product is made. We just need to examine the labels. But it would be nice if they would be physically labelled just to make them feel what we’re feeling.

  2. Rob Harris says:

    The whole EU approach is unbelieveable – while they go out of their way to attack Israel, they not only ignore other less justified territorial disputes, like Cyprus and Tibet, they have in fact gone out of their way to defend their trade agreements with Western Sahara, which is occupied by Morocco – ironically however, singling out Israel in such a flagrant way (incl. with the banning of agricultural produce) merely reinforces the need for a nation that allows Jewish self-determination.

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s unbelievable only in the emotional sense. It is totally believable in the logical and historical sphere. Boycotting Jews – or the Jewish state in this case – has an old and “respected” place in European history. And even though the EU are not talking about boycotting here, only labelling, it is obvious that the end result, even if not the intention, is a boycott. And of course I have high doubts about their intention. They may cloak it in fine words of “options” and “choice” but in practice, there is no other logical reason to label products besides to make it easier to boycott them.

      And of course the boycott and labelling is antisemitic: since it’s only Jewish settlements’ products being labelled, and not products made by Palestinians in the West Bank, it is clear that antisemitism lies behind it all.

      And as you say, their hypocrisy stinks. I omitted the Western Sahara in my list of occupied territories which are not boycotted by the EU, or anyone else for that matter.

  3. Rob Harris says:

    Indeed this move is paving the way for a full boycott, as indicated in the report you also cited by Eugene Kontorovich and Avi Bell – they note the EU used an obscure rule to basically ban some agricultural produce from Judea and Samaria:

    “In 2014, the European Commission changed its rules regarding the import of poultry from Israel. Specifically, in an amendment to Regulation (EC) No 798/200,31 the Commission denied the validity of phytosanitary certificates relating to “the territories under Israeli administration since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.” The amendment acknowledged that there was no hygenic reason for denying the validity of the certificates; instead it stated that the restriction was being undertaken “[f]or the sake of market transparency and in accordance with public international law.

    Since 2014, European officials have used this unilateral technical measure to impose trade restrictions on imported Israeli dairy and meat products, poultry and eggs. Media reports on the subject are contradictory, but seem to indicate that European officials have imposed a complete ban on the import of the products, if their origin is in the disputed territory, on the grounds that the certificates of phytosanitary inspection cannot be accepted notwithstanding the fact that the required inspections are taking place and being performed competently.”

    Yet EU treatment of Moroccan occupied Western Sahara (which is not remotely commensurate as they have no legitimate reason to be present in the region), is wholly different.

    • anneinpt says:

      I didn’t even realise that there was an actual ban in place on some products. I really fell for their line that “it’s only labels”.

      I would like to write what I really think about the Europeans but it’s unprintable.

  4. Reality says:

    The EU are even claiming”it’s not a boycott,it’ll actually be good for Israel,as people will know which products to buy that are truly Israeli”It makes me sick.I hope all stores will boycott and label EU products

  5. YJ Draiman says:

    Jewish right to live in peace throughout Israel must be enforced
    Why as a Jew does the world think it has a right to torture me? Israel was created to prevent this. Yet on my home soil someone thinks that he has a right to torture me because I am a Jew. Israel of all places in the world should be my sanctuary especially because it is the official Jewish state for all Jews. Is it because I am a Jew that I deserve missiles to be thrown upon me? Is it because I am a Jew that another Jew has the right to prevent me from praying to my God on the Temple Mount?
    Many Jewish souls died in the Diaspora and continue to die, including in Israel for the sole reason that they are Jews. Their fate was in the hand of their leaders. They deserved so much more then being murdered just because they were Jewish. We do not want to repeat the Holocaust again. And nor the expulsion of over a million Jewish families from Arab countries.
    Israel must learn to secure the safety of every citizen under its roof. We declare; Enough of trying to be the advocate for these extremists’ evil people within the Arab-Palestinians population. Israel is the home of the Jewish people. It is written in all of the holy books, the bible and history books, including archeological excavations in Israel, International law and treaties.
    Enough; of trying to accommodate the Arab-Palestinian people; they only thrive on hate and destruction towards me as a Jew and Israel. Israel must be strong and extremely strict with no wavering, in enforcing its laws, its safety, security and sovereignty. Hamas should have been destroyed, just like any other enemy of Israel who wants to destroy her. Order must be restored in the Gaza and everywhere in Greater Israel.
    The Arab-Palestinians in the west bank (Judea and Samaria) thinks they can torture me because I am a Jew. They commit daily terror and violence in Israel in the name of Islam. Enough is enough. The time is not for revenge but for law and order with a clear message to Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, and his terrorist Arab P.A. that these terror and violence acts are his responsibility. If he cannot stop it, Israel will have no alternative, but to take appropriate action to stop terror and violence. Moreover, Hamas the terrorist organization must be eradicated once and for all.
    I am a Jew and I deserve to live in peace in my own country without threat and intimidation. I expect the respect and protection that is due to me especially by my Jewish leaders in my own country. All Jews must learn to respect each other no matter their religious practice or opinion. A unified Israel is a strong Israel.
    Among others, I blame the government of Israel for not taking a far, far stronger stand with no holds barred. There is no alternative but denial of citizenship, and deportation, of everyone who is an avowed enemy of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. People will say this is extreme. I say, the situation is extreme. Living with one million plus potential and actual murderers of our men, women and children is extreme.
    How do we know who is an enemy of the State? Anyone who has participated in any act of aggression against Israeli Jews (stone throwing, rioting, vandalizing Jewish cemeteries and holy places, attacks on Jews) is an enemy of the State. Furthermore, the families of these enemies of the State; the schools that teach hate and the destruction of Israel; and anyone who engages in anti-Israel hatred and violence in words or acts, must be treated as enemies of the State.
    I also blame, of course, the anti-Semitism of the rest of the world, including the US government (President, staff, and especially the State Dept), and certainly the EU and the UN (a terrorist supporter), whose extremely biased condemnation and pressures have stopped Israel from taking the necessary steps to protect itself. These are the steps which any other State in the world would be obligated to take and has taken without criticism and condemnation.
    The never ending and the continuance of violence against Israel and its’ citizens must come to an end. How many more of our beautiful people, young and old, must be sacrificed on the altar of the world’s anti-Semitism and our own fear of appearing too self-interested?
    If ever there was a time for self-interest, it is now.
    The Israeli government needs to learn from previous mistakes that ingratiating to the biased international media and to the Arabs only strengthens the Arab resolve and brings more bloodshed and bullying. No one has said a word about Egypt bombing Gazan houses and building a wall because Egypt doesn’t give a damn and everyone knows it. Israel needs to have the same attitude and do what is good and secure for its’ people for a change. This will garner more respect, not less. Bullies prey on the weak.
    As for Gaza it will now become solely Israel’s problem and the government will probably be dumb enough to accept the problem as their own. Israel created the Arab-Palestinian people and an idea of an Arab-Palestinian state and now they will probably take responsibility for the people of Gaza to please the world. Makes you sick, does it not!
    The Arabs keep demanding the West Bank as their new State. Israel must face reality and inform the public; that there will never be an Arab state west of the Jordan River. That shall eliminate any delusions of a second Arab terrorist state within the legal borders of Israel and will force Israel and the world to accept other alternatives; like population exchange. They also fail to inform the world, that the Arab states expelled over a million Jewish families from their countries, confiscated all their assets, businesses, homes and Real estate (over 70,000 square miles which is 6 times the size of Israel) most Jewish refugees from Arab countries were resettled in Greater Israel; and today comprise over half the population.
    The Arab-Palestinians have a state which was taken from Israel illegally by the British, it is called Jordan, which about 75% of its citizens now are; Arab-Palestinians citizens and possess a Jordanian citizenship. While the British as trustee for the Jewish people managed the Mandate for Palestine as trustee for the Jews, the British violated the trust and created “The State of Jordan” for the Arabs in the early 1920’s. The British took about 80% of Jewish allocated land under international law, which included all the territory east of the Jordan River under the San Remo Treaty of 1920 which adopted the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and gave it to the Arabs, in violation of the treaty.
    The Arab-Palestinians do not want an Arab State; they have proven to date that they are only interested in the destruction of Israel. Their Charters, Schooling and Media (brainwash) educates and promotes hate, terror and violence towards the Jewish State. An Arab-Palestinian State would have to act responsibly and abide by world criteria of a responsible state, which they cannot adhere to.
    YJ Draiman

  6. Pingback: The EU labelling guidelines and BDS – continuing the war against Israel by other means | Anne's Opinions

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