Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a decision by the European Union to clearly label products from the West Bank and Jewish other settlements. Netanyahu, and other Israeli leaders, deemed the move prejudice.
The new labeling rule is “a politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step, that it learned from the world of boycotts,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, according to the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
EU leaders “should be ashamed,” Netanyahu said. When the new labeling rule was favored in a September vote, he hinted at the holocaust. “The root of the conflict is not the territories and not the settlements,” he said. “We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labeled Jewish products.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely echoed the Netanyahu’s sentiment. “Our concern is that once you put a label on Judea and Samaria [the biblical names for the West Bank] you put a label on Israel,” he told the Times of Israel website, according to the Independent. “We see it as a boycott of Israel for all intents and purposes. We view it as a slippery slope. It’s simply a sweeping disqualification of Israel.”
EU authorities deny the move is discriminatory. It’s about fully informing consumers about the precise location their products are produced. “It will have to be clear it’s coming from Israeli settlements,” David Kriss, an E.U. spokesman in Tel Aviv, told the Independent Tuesday.
Now, cosmetics cannot read “Made in Israel” if it comes from a Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. Similarly, products like dates, wine, poultry, and olive oil must read “product from West Bank (Israeli settlement).”
The same goes for anything that comes from a Palestinian-owned company in the West Bank. The product must say “product from Palestine” or “product from the West Bank (Palestinian product).”
While Israeli leaders denounce the move, it probably doesn’t come as a shock. The EU has been toying with the idea of changing labels since 2012, the Post noted.
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