Dutch premier rejects labeling Israeli products from over the Green Line

Mark Rutte: Holland will continue labeling products "Made in Israel".

October 4, 2013 07:36
1 minute read.
President Shimon Peres and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, October 1, 2013.

Shimon Peres and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Bart Maat)


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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.

Rutte 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.

In 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.

“EU 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.

Prominent German 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 the 1930s.

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 products.

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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