The Anti-Defamation League on Friday sharply criticized European countries for being "out of step" for issuing directives which seek to dissuade their citizens from conducting business with Israeli companies in the West Bank.
The ADL said the measures represented a “new extreme” whose timing is “out of step” with the situation on the ground.
Spain and Italy brought to five the number of major European Union countries warning citizens against investment in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
“At a period when Israel is confronting heightened threats from Hamas and other terrorist elements, the search for the abducted Israeli teens, ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, and intensifying regional instability, it is disappointing that European governments have once again unduly honed in on settlements,” ADL chief Abe Foxman said.
“Not only is the timing of this action out of step with the recent security developments, but the suggestion that conducting business with private West Bank-based Israeli companies could violate human rights takes the European position on settlements to a new extreme.”
The ADL accused the European governments of unfairly singling out Israel while refusing to criticize the Palestinian unity government that won the support of Hamas.
"To be seen as a constructive party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, European states must cease their unfair practice of focusing solely on Israel’s settlement activity,” said Foxman. “The Palestinian Authority should be held responsible for its own obstructionist actions, including its direct affiliation with terrorist groups like Hamas.”
The EU's ambassador to Israel said on Friday that many European nations were losing patience with Jerusalem due to the continued expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line.
Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned at a seminar that more European countries would issue warnings to their citizens against conducting business with companies in Israeli settlements, Israel Radio reported.
The EU envoy's remarks followed the business warnings issued by European powers Spain and Italy, following suit of France earlier in the week.