The Justice of EU Settlement Labeling — And Rightist Double-Standards in Opposing It

  1. The EU’s labeling isn’t even a boycott. Israel, not the EU, wants ignorance and coercion and compulsion in buying.

 First of all, it isn’t a boycott. If you support the settlements you would want to buy labeled products as a political act.

Labeling is the opposite of a compulsory or coercive boycott. Instead, it gives buyers freedom of choice based on accurate truth-in-packaging.

The Israeli government’s objection does not oppose coercive boycotts but just the opposite — it supports buyers’ ignorance and untruth-in-packaging rather than buyers’ knowledge; the government precisely opposes buyers’ uncoerced and knowledgeable freedom of choice about what to buy and constitutes a tacit admission that most buyers oppose the settlements.

And since they oppose them, the government wants to coerce and compel them into buying settlement products against their freedom of choice anyway.

It is Israel’s government that wants ignorance and coercion and compulsion, while labelers advocate knowledge and freedom of choice.

And labeling is not boycotting. It is fair and honest truth-in-packaging. Pro-settlement buyers may specially choose labeled products if they want. Israel’s government just doesn’t like the fact that most buyers probably oppose the settlements.

And yet EU labeling does not deny buyers choice but precisely gives to them freedom of purchasing choice.

It is the EU’s labeling policy that advocates knowledge of what one is buying and freedom of choice about what to buy and not to buy. “The truth shall make you free.” Economic and purchasing freedom — liberty — is on the side of labeling. Israel’s government is on the side of ignorance and compulsion and forcing consumers to buy things ignorantly and against their will.

It is Israel’s government rather than the EU’s labeling policy, which wants to coerce and compel purchasers to buy what they do not want to.

In short, the Israeli government’s objection isn’t that it opposes coercive boycotts. Just the opposite: It precisely opposes buyers’ knowledge and freedom of choice about what to buy. Ad this constitutes its tacit admission that most buyers oppose the settlements.

“The truth shall make you free” — and liberty is on the side of labels.

* * *

But suppose labeling was a compulsory boycott  (not BDS, but just settlement products), even though it is the opposite of either one–even though it is, instead, both economic truth-in-labeling and liberty?–

  1. Again this would be, if it was–which it isn’t–a boycott, it would still be a rejection of BDS and only about boycotting settlement products. Not of Israel Proper. And we support innumerable similar — targeted — boycotts and sanctions.
  • Many of us support Amos Oz and thousands of liberal Israelis in boycotting settlement products and events. Why shouldn’t we support and follow liberal Israelis in boycotting settlement products? But the EU policy doesn’t even go as far as many liberal Israelis. It just labels, so people can make free choices. 
  • We supported Gandhi’s boycott of British Salt (the Salt March) in India’s struggle for statehood.
  • We supported Martin Luther King’s famous boycott of the Montgomery Bus System.
  • We supported Caesar Chavez’s United Farmworkers’ call to boycott grapes and lettuce.
  • We were ready to boycott Florida law surrounding George Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin, called “Stand Your Ground.”

So was King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, and most progressive Americans, and many cultural figures ready to boycott performances in Florida.

So was African-American blind musical icon, Stevie Wonder. Wonder said: “Wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”

  • We were ready to boycott Arizona until its Governor Jan Brewer, seeing the boycott that awaited, vetoed “Arizona SB 1062, a bill allowing business owners to refuse services to homosexuals that was passed by the state legislature.”

Brewer vetoed it warning of “unintended and negative consequences” if she signed, meaning boycotts, and in Arizona “many businesses sharply criticized the measure, saying it would be bad for Arizona’s economy and could lead to discrimination lawsuits, boycotts and other disruptions. “

Supporters proclaimed, “Thank you Governor Brewer,” they said. “Arizona is open for business to everyone!” Meaning not just to gays, but that there would be no business contraction due to boycotts. The threat to boycott Arizona to protect human rights obtained justice, and Brewer did not sign the discriminatory bill. .

  • We were ready to boycott Indiana for its anti-gay law allowing employers to refuse to hire gay people. The Conservative and Republican largest paper in Indiana, the Indianapolis Star, printed its full front page in solid black, with giant letters in white saying, FIX THIS.

Again, businesses throughout Indiana and the country warned of boycotts, including the major Indiana Pharmaceutical company E.I. Lilly.

American actor and human rights advocate George Takei (who he played Sulu in Star Trek) called for a cultural and performance boycott of Indiana if it were passed.

Again, the threat to boycott to protect human rights obtained justice, and Governor Mike Pense did not sign the discriminatory bill.

  • Union strikes are a basic form of collective economic pressure to achieve social justice. Martin Luther King came to Memphis, Tennessee to support the striking garbage collectors, during which came his Assassination, which rocked the black community, the nation, and the world..

The King Encyclopedia notes that “King encouraged the group to support the sanitation strike by going on a citywide work stoppage, and he pledged to return that Friday, 22 March, to lead a protest through the city.” On April 5, 1968 James Earl Ray assassinated him.

  • We join in corporate ethical investment movements — which are the same as corporate ethical disinvestment movements.

Since we do, opposition to boycotts against the settlements, if it were a boycott, would be a classic instance of Double Standards that are pro-Israeli-Right.

When it comes to occupations and settlements and their products, all claimants to Western democratic status and all aspirants to having close Western economic and military ties are held to exactly the same and single and uniform standard.

And a boycott to sustain that one standard of justice.

Even though it is not a boycott. And the EU wants consumer knowledge and free choice, simply on the probably correct assumption that consumers want justice:

Again in order to sustain one standard of justice.

…and international boycotts that suggest favoritism given to the Israeli Right expressed in pro-Settlement double-standards…

If it were a boycott, which again it isn’t — still, we have backed innumerable international boycotts for justice:

We had substantially boycotted the Soviet Union for occupying Eastern Europe, as for decades we did China for (among matters) occupying Tibet. For decades we wouldn’t even recognize China and we barred it from basic United Nations membership. We still sanction Putin’s Russian leadership clique for occupying Crimea. Against both Russia and China we will always continue to uphold – probably without end – sanctions of all aid, arms, sensitive technology, economic secrets, and political and military intelligence, and high-tech sanctions.

We still sanction Vladimir Putin’s leadership for occupying Crimea; we have joined in the corporate ethical-investment movement — identical to ethical disinvestment.

3. More International Pro-Israeli-Right Double Standards:

Here are some of the Israeli Right’s favorite examples of purported “anti-Israel double standards,” now stated in a way to demonstrate that they are are actually, instead, Pro-Israeli-Right Double Standards:

And: Would we actually help and support China’s occupation of Tibet?

Have helped and supported Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe — or Putin’s Russia of Crimea?

Have helped and supported Syria’s Hafez or Bashir Assad’s domination of Lebanon, or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait, or Slobodan Milošević’s Serbia’s attempt to dominate the Balkans?

Helped and supported Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus?

Helped and supported Morocco occupation of Spanish Sahara?

No, but we help and support Israel’s rightist occupation and settlement of Palestine.

And therefore the actual double standards are Pro-Israeli-Right double standards.

4. It is not about boycotts — and not even about Occupations. It is about settlements and segregationism.

Not even the Soviet Union created Soviet settlements in Occupied Eastern Europe.

The Soviet Occupation alone was enough to set off a Cold War.

But Israel is creating settlements and organized segregationism in its Occupied Territories — which is in addition to what the Soviet Union did.

Israeli rightist government Hasbarists like Justice Minister Shaked have scoured out the length and breadth of the world and ferreted out “Spanish Sahara” — to try to show “anti-Israel double standards.”

Because double standards are the heart and soul of the Israeli Right’s Hasbara.

But again, first, the labeling is not about boycotts, or an Occupation, but about Settlements and segregationism — segregationist settlements.

And take Shaked’s “Spanish Sahara.”

Does Morocco promulgate a settlement movement — complete with segregationist Moroccan settlements, including segregated roads and school systems — in Spanish Sahara?

And does it as part of “Moroccan expansionism” comparable to Israeli settlement expansionism with the 700,000 settlers now over the Green Line?

And if there happen to be a token few Moroccans living in Spanish Sahara, do they not live integrated as ordinary Spanish Saharans in ordinary Spanish Saharan communities — rather than in the segregated settlements that underpin the entire system of Jim Crow segregationism upon which the settlement and expansionist movement is based in the Israeli-settled territories?

Since the EU labeling is about Israel settlement expansionism in the Palestinian territories rather than Israel’s occupation, per se,, isn’t the Israeli Right’s entire comparison an utter non-sequitur if only on this account alone?

Then why doesn’t anyone point this out, rather than let Netanyahu and Shaked get away with their fallacy- and sophistry-based dishonest bullying and intimidation of European nations’ governments?

Second, Do we have a “special relationship” with Morocco, or do we HELP Morocco’s occupation of — or nonexistent settlement expansionist movement in — Spanish Sahara? Of course we emphatically do not.

Third, All claimants to Western democratic status and aspirants to Western economic and military organizational affiliations — which pivotally and crucially do not even include countries that are such aspirants and claimants are held to only one single strict standard.

These do not include, say, China or Morocco. They do include the Israeli Government — and only and uniquely the Israeli government.


5. The Ultimate Pro-Israeli-Right Double Standards

For there to be Western-led double standards against another country of the kind the Israeli Right claims, three conditions would have to obtain:

1st, the other country would have to be a non-claimant to Western Democratic standards and a non-aspirant to Western economic and military affiliations;

2nd, it would have to pursue settlement and segregationist policies;

3rd, the country and its policies would have to be strongly supported and the country’s government placed in a “special relationship” by the US and West.

There are no countries’ governments on earth that meet all these criteria except one: Israel’s Right and its segregationist settlement policies.

So there are certainly double standards. But they obviously go in reverse — to favor and privilege — uniquely — The Israeli Right.

Israel’s right is correct that Kurds and other oppressed groups have it “worse than Palestinians.” But it misses the pivotal point: America doesn’t put other occupiers – much less settler-occupiers  — into a “special relationship” with us – we do the opposite and treat them as adversaries.

Israel’s Right ignores that this is not about a universal international moral hierarchy. But that it is instead about–Double Standards.

That Kurds experience worse, and many countries do worse– ten thousand times worse, but that this has nothing to do with double standards. It is recognized. There is no controversy.  Again, many of these worse places, like Russia and China, we have had decades of deep partial sanctions and boycotts against–aid, military, intelligence, economic secrets, technological, high-tech sanctions and on and on. Others, like Qaddafi’s Libya, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Assad’s Syria, we have bombed–or come near bombing.

In sum: these are about worse things–but

not about any double-standards about them.

This is one of the biggest of all the Rightist confusions.

The Rightist charge of “anti-Israel double standards” has everything backwards. All claimants to Western democratic status and aspirants to Western economic and military organizational affiliations — which pivotally and crucially do not even include countries that are such aspirants and claimants such as the Israeli Right’s Red Herrings like Morocco and China — are held to only one and single strict standard.

Only one standard — that is, except for the West’s “mother of double standards” — a favoritism that singles out for special and unjust favor, only the Israeli right.

And Israel’s government now pursues illogical sophistries, dishonest manipulations — falsely accusing it of being a boycott — and falsely saying it’s about occupation, in order to bring up other occupations.

It uses innumerable fallacies, only some of these exposed above, to try to intimidate and bully EU countries to roll back its rules of labeling products that are inaccurately labeled as made in Israel in order  to confuse the buying public into believing a falsehood about what they buy, since they are actually made on segregationist and expansionist and illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

And Israel’s government prefers mislabeling and falsehood in Europe.

About the Author
James Adler was born in Kentucky, now works in university libraries, and feels especially and intensely bound up with the fate of the Jewish people in the last hundred years, especially the Shoah, the rise of Israel "out of the ashes," and the accidental and mutually tragic collision with the Palestinians in the early and middle of the 20th century, continuing through today. He is happily married and the father of two teenagers.