BERLIN – A diverse group of German and American Jewish organizations sharply criticized on Tuesday German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration for its endorsement of the labeling of Israeli settlement products.
The Jerusalem Post asked Jewish organizations in Europe and the United States to assess Merkel’s decision to impose labels on Israeli merchandise made in east Jerusalem, on the Golan Heights and in the West Bank.
“It’s a disgrace. Throughout her years as chancellor, Angela Merkel in word and [mostly] in deed has stood as a friend of Israel. She must certainly know that the EU labeling move does nothing to advance peace, but does further embolden an array of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic forces. Hiding behind a decision by the EU doesn’t hide the fact that she has violated a historic German responsibility when it comes to the Jewish State: Do no harm,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said, “As this is not a mandatory European law, but merely guidelines, we had hoped that given history and importantly the anniversary of 50-years of relations between Germany and the State of Israel, that there would be sensitivity to a labeling regime which singles out one people in the whole world for a political, and therefore discriminatory, designation.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League in New York, told the Post, “European officials might insist that the decision is technical, but in fact, these guidelines send a political message, and one that will surely be co-opted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, which opposes the two-state solution. Even if European Union officials claim it does not support BDS, this policy will have a similar negative affect on European consumers, who are unlikely to make the intended distinction.”