Knesset Speaker protests EU ruling labeling West Bank products

"Although the decision is couched as an impartial effort to rule narrowly on a legal case and to ensure that consumers understand the provenance of their food, it in fact applies a double standard."

Yuli Edelstein (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yuli Edelstein
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to his European Union counterpart, David Sassoli, to protest against the  EU top court's decision mandating labeling Israeli goods produced over the pre-1967 line.

In his message, Edelstein asked Sassoli for support to ensure that the EU Parliament expresses its opposition to such a ruling.

“Although the decision is couched as an impartial effort to rule narrowly on a legal case and to ensure that consumers understand the provenance of their food, it in fact applies a double standard to Israel and the disputed territories under its control,” Edelstein wrote. “Indeed, out of dozens of such areas around the world, I believe only Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights are subject to such labeling regulations.”

The EU Court of Justice delivered a landmark ruling last week stating that the word “settlement” would now have to be included on consumer labels for Israeli goods produced in east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as the West Bank settlements.

Previously, the policy was only an advisory by the EU and was left to the individual purview of its member states.

“Foodstuffs originating in territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied – where those foodstuffs come from a locality or a group of localities constituting an Israeli settlement within that territory – by the indication of that provenance,” the Court of Justice of the European Union said.

In his message, Edelstein further noted how the ruling differentiated between Arabs and Jews based on ethnicity.

“The court mandated that food labels not indicate merely ‘West Bank’ or ‘Golan Heights’ but specifically that the foods come from a Jewish settlement – lest consumers mistake these goods for Arab ones,” he wrote.

The Knesset speaker pointed out that in spite of many EU representatives speaking out against the 
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the Tuesday decision will reinforce it.

“I am gravely concerned that the court decision could undermine the political and economic ties between Israel and the European Union, and have far-reaching, negative ramifications for the prospects of peace between Israel and the Middle East,” he stated.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.