The European Union may soon place labels on products made in Israel’s disputed territories – a label that would not be added to any other products from around the world.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Friday that the “Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued non-binding opinion arguing that EU law requires Israeli-made products to be labeled as coming from ‘settlements’ and ‘Israeli colonies.’”
In 2016, France adopted a measure that required labels be put on products from the Golan Heights, eastern Jerusalem, and the West Bank. In 2015, the European Commission adopted similar regulations but had no way to punish countries that refused to add the labels.
After the French measure was adopted, the Israeli Psagot winery filed a lawsuit, according to the Free Beacon. The lawsuit claimed the regulations amounted to discrimination against Jewish countries and argued its case all the way up to the European Court of Justice. In 2018, France suspended the labeling policy.
As the Free Beacon reported, that court seems close to affirming the lower court’s opinion that Israeli products should have such a label on them.
Yaakov Berg, CEO of Psago, told the Free Beacon that the labels were “discriminatory and illegal” since they would only apply to Jewish companies and no other companies.
“We are not the Israeli government,” Yaakov told the outlet. “Psagot winery is not responsible for Israeli government policy. But because we are Jewish owners of a winery in a beautiful and hotly contested land, we are being targeted and punished. And we are being punished precisely because we are Jews living in Judea where we have every right to be, as do the Palestinian Arabs and Druze and the Christians.”
“No one should be discriminated against because of their religion,” he continued. “If you support a Palestinian state, would you support a Judenrein state of Palestine? That seems to be what the EU is proposing when it says Jewish businesses are illegal in Palestine but Muslim businesses are not, in the same location! Such a de facto boycott of Jewish products, the likes of which we have not seen since Nazi Germany, would definitely run afoul of U.S. law.”
As the Free Beacon reported, the decision to add the labels “could pave the way for goods from any disputed territory to receive such treatment.” It could also “trigger U.S. anti-boycott laws meant to stop Israeli-made goods from being singled out for unfair treatment on the international market.”
Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project and a human rights lawyer, told the Free Beacon that the Advocate General’s opinion blatantly discriminates against Israel.
“The Advocate General’s opinion said that goods produced by Muslims are to be labeled from ‘Palestine,’ and goods produced by Jews labeled as coming from ‘Israeli colonies,’ she told the outlet. “Both people are living in the same geographic location, and yet Jewish goods are being treated differently.”
The U.S. State Department has been adamantly against efforts to single out Israel, such as the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which focuses solely on Israel and no other nation on Earth.
“The State Department is aware of this particular issue,” a state department spokesman told the Free Beacon. “The administration’s position strongly opposing all efforts to boycott, delegitimize, or isolate Israel is well-known.”