November 9: The EU’s labels

The EU cannot decide on product labeling. It can only make recommendations.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The EU’s labels
With regard to “Immoral labels” (Editorial, November 6), while the recent move of the European Union to label products originating from the territories is obviously driven by supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, we have some responsibility in this regard.
The EU cannot decide on product labeling. It can only make recommendations. In fact, it will publish only non-compulsory rules to guide member states. It does, however, have authority over customs duties and trade agreements, and it is here where in 2005, BDS supporters pushed to have Israel excluded from a free trade agreement with the EU for “all products produced in the Israeli settlements located within the territories brought under Israeli administration since June 1967.”
ROO (rules of origin) are used by the EU as instruments of foreign policy. As stated by the EU, export from these areas “contravenes agreed rules of origin since these territories do not form part of the State of Israel.”
From customs duties it has evolved into labeling. Our failing to annex the territories has made this possible. The labeling guidelines we now protest are but one of the consequences of not fighting this ambiguity.
It would be very useful to have an article that highlights the European Union labeling policy for products from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Chinese- occupied Tibet, the Moroccan- occupied western Sahara, and Kosovo, which is recognized by only a small minority of nations.
There is little doubt that the EU is discriminating against Israel.
Every effort should be made to highlight this.
It is also a great pity that the EU does not apply its efforts to bringing about peace between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas so that all Palestinians are united under the PA and qualify for UN statehood. A peace settlement between Israel and the PA, but without Gaza, will never enable the Palestinians to achieve statehood.
Kiryat Ono
Stop being hypocritical! Don’t criticize the Europeans for their labeling guidelines when your editorial policy is to call cities such as Ariel, Efrat, Emanuel and Givat Ze’ev “settlements” and refer to the residents of Judea and Samaria as “settlers.” These are code words that support Arab propaganda saying we “occupy” the territory of a non-existent Palestinian people.
Perhaps you should revert to your original name, The Palestine Post.
Ganei Modi’in
In “Diplomatic self-destruction” (Borderline Views, November 6), David Newman writes that “the continued attempt to remind the Europeans that they have no right to be critical of Israel because of their complicity and guilt in the Holocaust 70 years ago, is about as cheap as it comes, and is a grave insult to survivors and children of survivors, both in Israel and around the world.”
Mr. Newman couldn’t be more wrong. As a survivor from Poland, I don’t feel at all insulted by this. I feel more slighted by his willy-nilly effort to play down the gravity of the Holocaust by invoking it in such a way while some of us survivors are still around, in order only to take a cheap swipe at a government he clearly doesn’t approve of.
Herzliya Pituah
Seventy-seven years ago, on the night of November 9 and into the next day, Hitler’s stormtroopers were let loose to wreak havoc, destroy, pillage, injure and murder. Jewish storefronts were shattered, homes were destroyed and synagogues were desecrated, defiled, vandalized and burned down. Some 100 Jews were murdered, and many more were injured. Jewish citizens were forced to fear and hide; thousands were sent to the then-new concentration camps.
On November 11, the Europe that slaughtered a third of our people is expected to go on the warpath against us again and overtly by issuing its labeling guidelines. Our products are to be tagged – not with the proud “Made in Israel” logo, but with some symbol selectively identifying products made in parts of our homeland not yet included within the acknowledged borders of the state.
It is ironic that during the Holocaust, the stormtroopers marauded while singing “Today we own Germany, tomorrow the world.”
I suggest that we put two proud labels of our own on these products: 1) “Made in the Land of Israel” and 2) “Not for anti-Semites.”
On the night of November 9, 1938, amid the deafening sounds of gunshots, the smashing of glass and the cries of mobs rioting and looting Jewish areas, Isaac Swartz, a young boy of 14, risked his life to douse a bonfire full of Torah scrolls, prayer shawls, prayer books and other Jewish artifacts that Nazi soldiers had set aflame in a square in Hamburg. He managed to rescue a single Torah scroll.
Seventy-seven years later, at this year’s annual National Jewish Retreat, held in August in Washington, DC, we celebrated the rededication of Isaac’s scroll, the self-sacrifice it represents and the revival of Jewish life and Torah study from the ashes of the Holocaust.
All 600,000 letters in the scroll were inspected and repaired, although one can still smell the smoke in the parchment.
On Shabbat at the retreat, 1,250 people witnessed the reading of this Torah. The son of a boy who experienced Kristallnacht took the Torah from the ark, and returned it at the end of the service.
In the darkest of times, the Jewish people still find tikva, the Hebrew word for hope. Please light a candle tonight in memory of this event. The Jewish people can illuminate the darkness one candle at a time.
Wallingford, Connecticut
Editorial distortions
Your editorial “Terrorism, not terror” (October 29) has several unforgivable distortions that raise serious doubts about the objectivity of the writer.
An editorial that justly portrays the murderous intentions and actions of the Palestinians and then devotes half of its content to the supposed sins of Jews, settlers, rabbis and crazies leaves the definite impression that there is moral equivalency between the two sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is one of the major distortions that have already been adopted by the UN, the US and, above all, the murderous terrorists themselves.
It must be made quite clear to all that although we have some extremists in our midst, the murder of innocent Arabs never was and never will be part of our national program. It does not appear in our textbooks. We do not preach it in our synagogues.
We do not name streets or stadiums after our terrorists. There is no Jewish mother praying for the death of her son in order to reward him with the services of heavenly virgins.
Not only do our people not joyfully celebrate the ugly acts of our miscreants, there is overwhelming national and individual condemnation of their behavior.
Another distortion in the editorial is the identification of the masked attacker of Rabbi Arik Ascherman as a “knife-wielding settler” when it is still unknown who the attacker was. It would be equally unjustified to distort the presence Rabbi Ascherman at the scene for the purpose of aiding Arabs in their attacks against Jewish farmers.
The most disgraceful and unforgivable distortion, however, is that your editorial contains completely unsubstantiated accusations against the government, settlers and the IDF.
These distortions all add fuel to the unconstrained hatred that surrounds our beleaguered state.
Petah Tikva