The European Commission has issued new guidelines for Israeli producers to “explicitly” label farm goods and other manufactured products that come from illegal Israeli settlements if they are sold in the European Union.
The decision has prompted outrage in Israel where people are accusing EU of discrimination against Israelis and Jews, when, in fact, it isn’t.
"Since the Golan Heights and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are not part of the Israeli territory according to international law, the indication 'product from Israel' is considered to be incorrect and misleading in the sense of the referenced legislation," the EU Commission stated.
There’s a huge difference between goods manufactured on land forcibly evacuated by belligerent Israeli government and military and products made in Israel.
The new rules do not apply to latter and therefore, in no way, would affect the interests of Israeli businesses.
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The decision comes at a time when the movement against Israeli expansionism is gaining momentum internationally. Campaigners called on EU to start a full-fledged boycott, however, the commission came up with a less severe measure by announcing the now-controversial rule for labeling goods.
The whole point of the new guidelines is to make a point: Israel should stop building more settlements on Palestinian land.
This message should not be misinterpreted as being anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, because it is not. It’s simply about the rights of the people who are being driven away from their homes by force.
In order to take the focus away from Israel’s illegal operations in occupied territories, politicians like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman often come up with exaggerated predictions, arguing the boycott of Israeli settlements could spiral into a wider boycott of Israel.
However, even if there was a big European boycott of settlement goods — and there isn’t one right now — the effect on Israel’s economy would be negligible since products from the occupied regions such as the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem account for less than 1 percent of Israel’s $13 billion in annual exports to the 28 EU countries.
This proves the EU’s decision isn’t really targeting any Israeli-Jewish businesses in Israel.
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And it’s not like these guidelines or boycotts are having any substantial effect on Israel’s long-term expansion plans.
Despite global protests, Israel said to okay initial plans for over 2000 new settlement units just this week.
This means more people will lose their land. More farmers will lose their source of living. More families will lose their homes.
Now this is something that deserves more outrage.