Michael Oren, French envoy in undiplomatic Twitter exchange over boycotts

"France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products," wrote the Kulanu deputy minister on Twitter.

November 28, 2016 12:51
2 minute read.
MK Michael Oren with Made in Europe sticker

MK Michael Oren with Made in Europe sticker. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Kulanu Deputy Minister Michael Oren insinuated later Sunday that Israelis should boycott the purchase of French goods in light of Paris's decision to label products made in settlements beyond the Green Line.

"France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products," Oren, Israel's former ambassador to the US, wrote on Twitter late Sunday.

Oren's remarks came days after the French government implemented a new regulation that mandates products from West Bank settlements must be labelled as such, and not as “Made in Israel.”

On Monday, France's newly-appointed Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal replied to Oren saying, "so you are calling for boycotting French products when in France boycotting Israel is punished by law?"

The Twitter exchange occurred after Israel on Thursday night lashed out at France over the labeling directive, saying it was troubling that Paris opted to single Israel out, and ignore 200 other territorial conflicts around the world.

“The Government of Israel condemns the french government decision to implement European Commission directives regarding Israel products originating beyond the Green Line,” read a Foreign Ministry statement.

The French directive was adopted in accordance with guidelines on the matter issued by the European Commission in 2015.

The EU's adoption of these guidelines last year infuriated Israel, and led it to suspend diplomatic contacts with the EU regarding the Mideast diplomatic process.

Oren, a stringent opponent of such settlement labels, also protested the EU guidelines on labeling settlement products.

In November 2015, Oren went to a supermarket on Emek Refaim Street in the capital’s German Colony neighborhood and placed blue EU stickers on crackers, cookies and beer from Spain, France and Germany to protest the pending publication of guidelines to enable EU member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

“The EU decision to label Israeli products is antisemitic,” Oren said. “There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world but the EU decided to single out Israel. They are not labeling products from China, India or Turkey – only Israel.”

Herb Keinon and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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