Those product labels are anti-Israel

It is disconcerting to think that in these days the European Union is very busily intent – while the Middle East is being battered by wave upon wave of barbarian actions that break against the borders of the only State that respects the human rights of the area – on preparing the ‘guidelines’ for labelling the Israeli products coming from the Territories beyond the Green Line.

The directives should come into force on the 1st of January 2016, and a list of regulations shall inform member States on how to apply their “yellow star” -which is that, even if it looks different – to fruits, vegetables and technological products coming from Judea and Samaria.

Why is the EU rushing this action? It is a kind of syndrome, an obsession that possesses the Union, and it is truly difficult to associate it to a virtuous peace project. Despite the words of the EU ambassador in Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen, the decision is not at all merely a ‘technical matter’ that derives from the European Parliament’s statement that considers the settlements illegal, and one that will push forward the peace process.

Who can truly believe, once the stores have put on display Israeli products bearing the “infamia marking” imposed by the EU, that peace will have taken a step forward?

Such an act instead is based on cynicism, illegality, hypocrisy and a persistent dislike for the State of Israel encouraged by the NGOs that back BDS, the “boycott and divestment” movement that is strategically committed to this goal since the anti-Semitic conference of the UN held in Durban in 2001 and that puts pressure on the institutions. It is a path that starts in 1948 when the Arab States decided to boycott Israel since its establishment. European cynicism will damage the thousands of Palestinian families that will remain without a source of income when the companies will be forced to close down.

It will also damage Israeli citizens, especially those living in the Territories, who are just in these weeks in mourning for the wave of terrorism. Right now, as the incitement to kill continues, the European Union should let the Palestinians know that a State must be deserved and not received as a gift, and that the price of independence is the refusal of terrorism.

“Labelling” is the antechamber to a boycott of all Israel, and not only of its products but of its ideas, of the ideas of its citizens and of its existence as a whole. Instead of favouring the peace process it hinders it, letting the Palestinians believe that the negotiation regarding the Territories is not necessary because the world thinks that those Territories that belonged to Jordan before the ’67 war, now naturally belong to them.

The subtext of the labelling obliterates the UN resolutions that establish that an agreement should be made keeping into account Israel’s safety, and avoiding a situation such as was created by the abandonment of Gaza, evacuated only to make way for missiles and Hamas terrorists.

The “restitutions” of the Territories does not promise, today, any peace. The EU knows perfectly well that today the Palestinians are not offering Israel any kind of acknowledgement even of the existence of the Jewish State. Indeed, they reject the idea.

Moreover, if the EU really had a policy that marks products coming from occupied territories, it should also mark those from the Western Sahara occupied by Morocco and those from the part of Cyprus invaded by Turkey. Of course this isn’t contemplated by the EU, nor does it do so for dozens of other contested lands.

And, if only Israel is being targeted, then the EU’s decision is a political one, and even more heinous for the fact that everyone remembers how, in recent history, after the “labelling” of Jewish products, there came the “labelling” of Jewish people.



This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (November 5, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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