Likud minister skips event with EU envoy in protest of settlement labeling

Akunis says the labeling initiative is a dark stain on the moral fabric of Europe.

MK Ophir Akunis  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Ophir Akunis
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Minister of Science Technology and Space Ofir Akunis has cancelled 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.  
Faaborg-Andersen said on Tuesday that products produced over the pre-1967 lines are not “made in Israel” and cannot be labeled that way.
He spoke to The Jerusalem Post in defense of the pending publication of guidelines to enable member states to place consumer labels on exports originating over the pre-1967 lines.
“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 in a telephone interview.
“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.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.