Jewish history spanning 3000 years is set to trump the European Union’s (EU) unprecedented action requiring the way goods are labelled originating from four areas of territory disputed between Arabs and Jews – the West Bank, Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Similar labelling requirements have not been stipulated by the EU for products emanating from 150 other disputed territories around the world - inviting the charge of Jew-hatred against the EU for introducing this territory-specific policy smacking of double standards and blatant racial discrimination. The aims of the new labelling requirements as set out in the European Commission’s Interpretative Notice (the Notice) – indicate they are not limited to consumer protection – as America’s State Department falsely claims – but also extend to advancing the EU political stance adopted on these four territories following their loss to Israel by Jordan, Egypt and Syria in the 1967 Six Day War:
“There is indeed a demand for clarity from consumers, economic operators and national authorities about existing Union legislation on origin information of products from Israeli-occupied territories. The aim is also to ensure the respect of Union positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the Union of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967."Promoting the EU’s political position under the guise of introducing consumer protection labelling laws is reprehensible. The Notice gives credence to the infamous anti-Israel BDS campaign operating in these four territories by inexplicably and unnecessarily introducing the term “Palestine” into its content:
“For products from Palestine that do not originate from settlements, an indication which does not mislead about the geographical origin, while corresponding to international practice, could be 'product from the West Bank (Palestinian product)' , ‘product from Gaza’ or 'product from Palestine'."The EU sinks further into the political quicksand of the 47-years-old conflict involving these territories with this bizarre footnote:
“This designation [Palestine] shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.”Jurgen Hardt from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union asserts:
"The decision to label products from the West Bank is not a step for consumer protection, but will lead to the creation of stigma against Israel"Hungary’s foreign minister Péter Szijjártó, terms the Commission’s labelling requirements “irrational” – not contributing to solving the conflict but causing more problems and damage.
Fulvio Martusciello – Chairman, European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Israel – states that the labelling requirement is a mistake and that many European nations are having second thoughts about the wisdom of the EU decision.
The EU Notice contains these reassuring words of comfort:
“This notice also aims at maintaining open and smooth trade, is not hindering trade flows and should not be construed to do so.”Accepting this EU expression of magnanimous goodwill at face value, Israel should label Jewish products originating from the “the West Bank” as originating from “Judea and Samaria” – the correct historical, biblical and geographical names used for 3000 years until Jordan invaded and illegally annexed Judea and Samaria – designating them the “West Bank” in 1950.
A few labelling ideas spring to mind:
1. “Made by Jews in Judea and Samaria – the ancient biblical homeland of the Jewish people”
2. “Produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria – heartland of the Jewish National Home”Similar labelling could identify the Jewish source of Golan and East Jerusalem products.
The EU’s stated concern for consumer protection would be unequivocally satisfied – without prejudicing Israel’s claims to these disputed territories.
The EU has opened a can of worms.