Israel may label goods imported from the European Union in a retaliatory move, local media reported Thursday. The EU decided in November to label goods made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, straining relations with Israel.
“We will provide the Israeli consumer the opportunity to choose whether he is interested in buying a product from this country,” said parliament member Shuli Moalem-Reafeli, a co-sponsor of the bill, according to the newspaper Haaretz. “This step can deter countries from changing the labeling of products from Israel.”
Moalem-Reafeli submitted a bill in November that targets any country which decides to label Israeli goods. The EU decided that month to apply a “made in settlements” label to goods produced on land that was taken by Israel in the 1967 war. Israeli politicians were quick to condemn the move, likening it to the Nazis forcing European Jews to display the Star of David in their stores. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the EU for a “double standard” that has not been applied to other conflicts.
The 28-member EU is Israel’s top trading partner, and a general boycott would be a grave threat.
“The State of Israel has to stand strong and defend itself to prevent such a situation,” the bill reads. “This bill does not pretend to be the only solution, but it is an attempt to set a tough policy regarding those who try to harm Israel’s status and power.”
The EU’s labeling decision affects products from the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The New York Times reported that the labels will apply to less than 1 percent of Israel’s exports to the EU.