This week, the European Union (EU) ruled that products which have been produced over the 1967 “Green Line” must be labelled as “product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)”.
Israel immediately issued a statement strongly condemning the move:
Israel condemns the decision of the European Union to label Israeli products originating from areas that are under Israeli control since 1967. We regret that the EU has chosen, for political reasons, to take such an exceptional and discriminatory step, inspired by the boycott movement, particularly at this time, when Israel is confronting a wave of terrorism targeting any and all of its citizens.
PM Binyamin Netanyahu spoke out against the decision, saying “Europe should be ashamed of itself”:
Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke out against the decision in an interview on the BBC. He refused to bow to the interviewer’s questions and asserts that Israel is being treated differently in what amounts to “a new form of anti-Semitism”. He also asks the interviewer: “Would you be willing to live next to a Muslim state 4 minutes from your home? Would you?” – to which, of course, he received no response:
Even though in opposition in the Knesset, Yair Lapid tweeted about the incident, saying: “Jews are being stabbed in the streets & the EU has given in to BDS. This decision discriminates against Israel & encourages terrorism.”
Jews are being stabbed in the streets & the EU has given in to BDS. This decision discriminates against Israel & encourages terrorism.
— יאיר לפיד (@yairlapid) November 11, 2015
Erik Hagen, a Norwegian geographer and activist and former chair of Western Sahara Resource Watch, an advocacy group, explains how the whole episode highlights the double standards placed on Israel. He said, “When it comes to products from Palestine and Western Sahara, there is a clear double standard in the European Union’s behavior, and it’s eroding its credibility across the board.”
“[A]s long as the European Union applies different standards to issues, instead of a uniform standard based on international law, it will not have any credibility when its representatives speak of facilitating peace and solidarity.”
Finally, another great quote is cited in this Times of Israel article:
K. — who declined to give his full name — is a 19-year-old Palestinian worker at the Arbel Farms and Packing Plant, near the Israeli settlement of Masu’a.
“Labeling is a mistake, because workers will have a problem with it,” he said. “If products won’t be sold, where will we work? A marketing problem means a problem for us with employment.” He added that all of the people in his village work for Israelis because there are few other economic opportunities.
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