Bill marks products from states backing Israel boycott

Likud minister skips event with EU envoy to protest labeling

By ARIK BENDER
November 5, 2015 11:12
2 minute read.
An Israeli flag flutters near Israeli youths

An Israeli flag flutters near Israeli youths as they protest atop the roof of a synagogue in the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A Likud lawmaker on Thursday submitted a bill that would require retailers to apply warning labels to products that are manufactured in countries that are calling for a boycott of Israel.

The “a label for a label” initiative is Likud MK Miki Zohar’s response to a European campaign to mark Israeli products that are made in territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

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If passed, failure to comply with Zohar’s bill would mandate a six-month prison sentence or a fine exceeding NIS 14,000.
Hotovely: labeling is boycotting Israel

“The boycott groups in Europe are cynically using terms like ‘human rights’ and the war against ‘the Israeli occupation,’” Zohar said. “But their political agenda is to boycott all of Israel and to undermine the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.”

“This is hypocrisy and a moral double standard because these groups do not boycott countries in other regions of the world that are ‘under occupation,’” he said.

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, told The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that products produced over the pre-1967 lines are not “made in Israel” and cannot be labeled that way.

He spoke to the Post in defense of the pending publication of guidelines to enable member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

“The EU position is that we do not recognize Israeli authority beyond the Green Line. It is not part of Israel. It is not part of what we understand to be Israel’s international recognized borders,” said Faaborg-Andersen.

“For that reason we cannot agree that products that come from settlements beyond the Green Line are labeled ‘made in Israel.’” Faaborg-Andersen will be one of the featured speakers at the fourth Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on November 18.

An Israeli diplomatic official warned on Monday that the EU settlement-labeling guidelines might be published in the coming weeks, possibly even in the next few days.

Meanwhile Minister of Science Technology and Space Ofir Akunis has canceled his participation in a joint event with the EU envoy to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen in protest over the anticipated European Union labeling directives of products from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

“The labeling initiative is a dark stain on the moral fabric of Europe which bears witness to the fact that the lessons of history have not been learned,” he said.

Akunis said he viewed favorably the Horizon 2020 project and other joint science and technology initiatives with the EU but that he “could not ignore the EU initiative which is nearing implementation.”

“What began with calls to boycott Jewish businesses, continued with the marking of human beings, and afterwards with their systematic destruction,” the Likud minister said.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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