Norway has just joined the group of European countries that implemented a 2019 European Union and UN Security Council resolution that establishes an obligation to label products originating in “Israeli settlements”—areas Israel gained control of in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, which are disputed by Palestinians—so consumers can make “informed choices” when shopping.
The EU court’s decision has long been viewed by Israeli authorities and manufacturers as antisemitic and discriminatory since Israel is the only country singled out. Despite the fact that there are more than 200 territorial disputes worldwide, the labeling measure applies only to Israeli goods.
Wine from the wineries in the Golan Heights, oil from the olive groves in Judea and Samaria, and a selection of fruits and vegetables from East Jerusalem exported to stores in Norway are labeled as coming from the “Israeli settlements” or from the “occupied territories.”
It may be necessary to condemn such decisions, but in reality, there is no need to lose any sleep over it. Nothing will happen if Norwegians will not drink Israeli orange juice for breakfast or will not season their salmon with Israeli olive oil. Israel will know how to export and distribute its products all over the world. Also, there are shortages in many countries due to the war in Eastern Europe, so it is not difficult to market products where there is a demand.
Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark already implement labeling practices for Israeli products. They have long been known for their anti-Israel stance. It is due to their nature and common spiritual root with Germany. They are also ideologically closer to the Arab world and lean toward them.
Fighting directly in international organizations like the UN or condemning the decisions of world governments like the government in Oslo is a war without any chance of winning. It’s like fighting windmills. The reason is that behind the labeling of our wines and olives there is a deeper story.
In the depths of their hearts, haters of Israel feel that we hold the key to their good future in our hands. Hatred of Israel is not a transient phenomenon, but a measurable law of nature. When we unite across all conflicts and disagreements, the hatred against us diminishes. On the other hand, when we are separated and emotionally distant from each other, hatred toward us grows in the world, and it strikes us again and again with bursts of antagonism, such as in the form of UN resolutions calling for labeling products from Israel.
The correct spirit that should be created between us is a spirit of connection and unity, an Israeli spirit of mutual guarantee, which is the only force that is able to neutralize the negative forces against us. There are even stronger and greater forces between us that even we are unfamiliar with, and even if the whole world were to slam the door in our faces and lock it with seven locks, by virtue of the spiritual connection between us, we could open it, or rather, induce our great enemies to open the door to us.
We are a nation that carries within it the social idea of ”love your neighbor as yourself.” Only a return to this love can eradicate the hatred of the world toward us. It’s not about holding hands and singing in a circle like in kindergarten, but the feeling that should be in our hearts that we are connected in a circle like friends, united like a warm family, united like a nation characterized by reciprocal care and support.
If we act in this way we will become a “light unto nations,” a light that will pass to all the nations of the world, and that will not only bring about a change in the punitive Norwegian labeling, but change in every area in our reality. As it is written, “The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag, (“The Arvut – Mutual Guarantee”)