Settlers in the Jordan Valley have refused to obey the new EU guidelines that call for consumer labels to be placed on their products clarifying that they were not produced in Israel.
Its farmers were particularly taken aback over the last weeks by a request from a German company that they place the statement “Occupied territories by the Government of Israel” on the products, Jordan Valley Regional Council head Dudu Elhayani told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Last week Elhayani penned an angry letter to the German Ambassador Clemens von Goetze in which he said that the request was “discriminatory” and “politically motivated.”
“I want to clearly inform you: we will not label our products. Such labeling is equivalent to the marking of Jews in Europe during dark and terrible times in the past. It is absolutely unacceptable,” Elhayani said.
He added that it bore no relation to the reality in Israel or in the Middle East.
It was particularly upsetting to receive such a demand during a wave of terrorism in which Palestinians were attacking innocent Israelis almost daily, Elhayani said.
“It is absolutely outrageous,” he added.
Elhayani explained to the ambassador that 60 percent of the people who live in the Jordan Valley are farmers who rely on agriculture to make a living.
In December the EU published guidelines for consumer labeling that state “not made in Israel” on Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines.
Elhayani said that 20% of the valley’s exports go to Europe. The rest, he said, is shipped to Russia, the US and Asia.