Shame on Europe

There is no denying that the European Union is engaging in a double standard toward Israel.

AN OLD map presents Europe in the shape of a queen holding scepter and orb, with Portugal as her crown, Spain as her face, France as her belowthe- neck area, lower Germany and Denmark as her left arm, Italy as her right arm (with Sicily as orb), and the rest of central and eastern Europe as the dres (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
AN OLD map presents Europe in the shape of a queen holding scepter and orb, with Portugal as her crown, Spain as her face, France as her belowthe- neck area, lower Germany and Denmark as her left arm, Italy as her right arm (with Sicily as orb), and the rest of central and eastern Europe as the dres
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The European Union’s Court of Justice decided this week that products made in Judea and Samaria cannot be labeled “made in Israel,” mandating that labels be changed in all 28 EU member states.
Before the ruling, the EU had only advised such labeling, but now it will be a requirement, and the union can launch legal proceedings against any state that does not comply.
The mandatory labeling also applies to products of east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, even though those areas are under Israeli sovereignty.
This decision is an outrage for a number of reasons.
First, it came while half of Israel was shut down due to the threat of rockets launched by terrorists into civilian populations. A modicum of consideration would have been appreciated at this time.
The court could have easily waited, but it did not.
The decision would have been controversial at any time, but for it to come when children from Tel Aviv to Beersheba and beyond had to stay home from school and run for shelter when rocket sirens went off, was an insult to Israelis.
This singling out of Israel is exactly what former Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky meant when he wrote in 2004 of the “three Ds” distinguishing antisemitism from legitimate criticism of Israel: delegitimization of Israel, demonization of Israel and subjecting Israel to double standards.
There is no denying that the European Union is engaging in a double standard toward Israel as opposed to other territories.
There is no similar labeling mandate for other areas under territorial conflict, like Tibet, Northern Cyprus or Western Sahara, as former justice minister Ayelet Shaked pointed out. In fact, rather than singling out their products, the EU even has an agreement with Morocco allowing European boats to fish in territorial waters off Western Sahara.
Beyond the formal definition of antisemitism, Europeans have a long history of telling Jews where they can – and more often, can’t – live, and with whom they can do business, going back centuries.
Labeling products from Judea and Samaria will encourage boycotts, something Jews were subjected to in the darkest period of Europe’s history.
And by declaring Jewish businesses – the implication being Jewish life – in Judea and Samaria as illegitimate, the EU is acceding to the Palestinian-driven idea that certain spots on the map need to be “Judenrein,” free of Jews. 
After all, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that, for him to reach an accord with Israel, the West Bank will have to be “free of settlers,” meaning Israeli Jews.
Europe allows free passage and even residence of citizens of one state into another, but its courts think that Jew-free areas are an acceptable concept in other parts of the world.
The decision also applies to Israeli products made in the Golan Heights, an area that falls under Israeli sovereignty, which is recognized by the United States. Requiring labeling of Israeli products made in the Golan makes no sense. Let’s say Israel would want to give the Golan to somebody: who would the EU recommend?
The brutal Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who has murdered more than half a million of his people in this long civil war? Or would Europe prefer ISIS, Iran or maybe Russia? Israel’s control over the Golan helps keep Israel secure and prevents a larger conflict that could erupt and engulf the Middle East.
The failure to recognize this simple fact is not just ignorance. It is a lie.
And then there is east Jerusalem. Basically, what the EU is saying is that if a menorah is made in the Old City and then exported for sale to Paris, it would need to be labeled. The capital of the Jewish people for three thousand years and its connection to the Jewish people is put into question.
This is ridiculous.
What Europe seems to fail to understand is that the days when the continent could tell Jews where they can live or where they can do business are over. Those days ended in 1948.
For the European Union’s top court to make a decision reeking of prejudice on a day when Israelis were most vulnerable is inexcusable.
Europe should be ashamed.


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