Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said that products made over the 1967 Green
Line will continue to be labeled “Made in Israel” in his country.
delivered his comments at a press conference with the visiting President Shimon
Peres on Tuesday.
Rutte said the policy of demarcating Israeli products
from disputed territories has not been considered in the Netherlands.
contrast, Germany has embraced plans to explicitly label all products made in
the disputed territories.
Writing in a June opinion article in The
Jerusalem Post, Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Andreas Michaelis, defended
labeling Israeli products made in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
consumer protection law sets very detailed requirements for retail labeling.
They exist to provide a level playing field for trade across Europe, and to
inform consumers on the origin of products,” he wrote.
Opponents of the
new EU guidelines, including the Israeli government, say that neither Germany
nor any other EU-member country has imposed a product labeling system on other
countries involved in territorial disputes. These critics point to disputes over
Turkey’s control of Northern Cyprus and Morocco’s seizure of the Western Sahara,
neither of which has been reflected on store shelves.
Jewish author and journalist Henryk M. Broder sees the push to label products as
a modernized version of the Nazi movement’s call to boycott Jewish businesses in
Rutte’s statement appears to supersede the comments made by
his foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, who called for the label “Made in
Israel” to be removed from products manufactured on the Golan Heights and in
east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The German Green Party has aggressively
campaigned this year in the Bundestag to impose a label on Israeli
Green Party deputy Kerstin Müller, who is slated to head the
party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation branch in Tel Aviv, helped navigate the
initiative in the Bundestag to label Israel products.
She has been the
subject of criticism from Germany’s Jewish community.
The Green Party’s
initiative this year shows strong similarities to the language of an earlier
legislative act urging a labeling system for Israeli products from settlements,
which was proposed by Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD party in 2012.
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