EU Commission approves Israeli 'settlement' product guidelines (Illustrative picture).
(photo credit: REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)
The Czech parliament passed a resolution on Thursday urging their government not to implement a European Union decision to label Israeli products exported from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Czech leaders denounced the EU resolution, with Czech media reports quoting Culture Minister Daniel Herman as saying in the parliamentary debate it was “absolutely necessary to reject the efforts to discriminate against the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The measure against the EU measure passed by an overwhelming majority.
The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s strongest European allies. Israel’s ambassador Gary Koren thanked the Czech legislators for their decision.
Lawmaker Robin Boehnisch of the Social Democratic Party called it absurd that the EU had argued that the labels would benefit their consumers.
Frantisek Laudat, another Czech lawmaker, said the decision “may evoke awkward reminiscence of marking Jewish people during World War II.”
Zdenek Soukup of the ANO party called Israel the only democracy in the Middle East.
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“If the state of Israel fell, Europe would finally fall as well,” said Marek Benda of the Civic Democrats said, who also called the requirement a contemporary display of anti-Semitism, the agency said.
Czech Communist MPs defended the labeling decision.
Jiri Valenta said consumers had the right to know the origin of goods that they purchased.
“The Czech Republic is uncritically pro-Israeli in its approach,” Valenta said.
In Paris, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely discussed the labeling issue on Thursday with Jacques Audibert, a top diplomatic adviser to French President Francois Hollande.
“Repeated efforts to impose a solution on us will not yield the desired result, Hotovely said. “The decision to label products precisely at this time gives a tail wind to terror.”
She accused Palestinians of inciting against Israel and said the time has come for the international community to closely monitor how hundreds of millions of euros it sends the Palestinian Authority was being spent.
“Are they building schools and preschools with this money?” Hotovely said.
“The money is going to an educational system that incites and leads an 11-yearold child at the end of the day to go and stab Jews.”
Hotovely said the international community made many demands on Israel to take confidence building steps in the territories, but none were demanding that the Palestinians quit inciting to violence against Israel.
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