The European Union and other governments around the world have been engaging in discriminatory conduct toward Israeli organizations that operate in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
In 2009, the Spanish government prohibited Ariel University from participating in a solar energy competition, funded by US taxpayer dollars, solely because the university was located in Samaria. In 2013, the EU issued orders formally requiring this protocol among all of its member states and forbade them to cooperate with, transfer funds to, or give scholarships or research grants to organizations beyond Israel’s 1949 armistice line.
This type of discriminatory behavior has been a frequent occurrence in European governments. In 2010, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling that prohibited Israeli products produced in Judea and Samaria from being labeled as “Made in Israel.” This ruling caused these products to be subject to higher tariffs. The South African government’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has required similar labeling standards as well.
The British government’s Advertising Standards Authority banned an Israeli tourism advertisement because it included a photograph of the Old City of Jerusalem, which is located beyond the 1949 armistice line and was fully annexed by Israel in 1980. The Government Pension Fund of Norway has blacklisted several Israeli companies, including Africa Israel Investments, Danya Cebus, and the Housing & Construction Holding Company Limited, based solely on the fact that they operate in Judea and Samaria.
This discriminatory behavior is part of a wider strategy being supported by the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement.
BDS is a hate movement founded in 2005 that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel through academic boycotts, where universities refuse to cooperate on research with Israeli universities; cultural boycotts, where entertainers like Roger Waters refuse to perform in Israel; and economic boycotts, where individuals or firms refuse to buy Israeli products. While the success of the BDS movement in the United States has been relatively limited, in Europe the movement been growing more powerful.
In the United States, the BDS movement mostly consists of small student groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, who have been harassing Jewish students on campus and posting mock eviction notices on the doors of their dormitory rooms, a handful of small academic organizations, such as the American Studies Association, and some entertainers.
Outside of the United States however, this movement has influenced the policies of several governments as mentioned above, and has influenced several large academic organizations, such as the United Kingdom’s University and College Union, and supermarket chains to boycott Israeli organizations and companies that operate in Judea and Samaria. Examples of Israeli companies that have been targeted by BDS boycotts include Ahava, SodaStream and Carmel Agrexco. American companies that operate in Judea and Samaria, such as Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola, have also been the target of boycotts supported by the BDS movement.
In 1995, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and concluded that it should remain an undivided city.
In that same year, Israel was recognized as having full jurisdiction over Area C of Judea and Samaria by the Oslo II Accord.
Foreign countries should not discriminate against Israeli organizations that operate in those areas.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifically covers “individual or mass forcible transfers,” whereas the Israelis who live in the settlements have moved there voluntarily. As such, Israel is within its full legal rights to establish settlements in these territories.
While the BDS movement is supporting this boycott out of antipathy toward the State of Israel, some of the groups that have bought into it are doing it simply out of the misguided notion that the settlements are somehow an obstacle to peace.
This notion has been repeatedly disproven. All of the attempts to oppose settlements, such as the 2005 expulsion from Gaza and the 2010 freeze on natural growth in the settlements in Judea and Samaria, have harmed the peace process and led to an increase in violence, not a decrease.
In response to this, United States Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas) introduced the “Prohibiting Discrimination Against Israel Act.” This bill will prevent the European Union and other foreign entities from discriminating against Israeli organizations that operate beyond the 1949 armistice line using US taxpayer dollars.
The discriminatory conduct of these governments needs to stop.
These governments have no moral authority to claim to be supporting human rights when they are engaged in such blatant acts of discrimination.
I encourage the American readers of this article to contact their congressional representative and ask them to cosponsor this bill, H.R. 4581, and I encourage the readers of this article all over the world to oppose the boycotts of this nature whenever possible.
The author is a legislative correspondent for US Representative Steve Stockman (TX-36).