EMET Condemns the EU for its Biased and Anti-Semitic Labeling of Israeli Products
EMET Praises Senator Cruz (R-TX) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) for their Leadership Against the EU Labeling Guidelines
(November 12, 2015, Washington, DC) Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) harshly condemned the European Union (EU) for its disgustingly biased decision Wednesday, November 11, 2015 to publish guidelines labeling products made in East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights as “made in settlements.” EMET also praised Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) for their strong leadership in expressing U.S. opposition to the EU’s anti-Semitic labeling guidelines.
In April of 2015, more than half of the foreign ministers of EU member states sent a letter encouraging the EU to proceed with a labeling policy for certain products made by Israeli companies. Members of the EU Parliament subsequently voted to endorse this initiative in September of 2015. On November 11, 2015, the EU decided to move forward and publish the new guidelines, despite fierce opposition by the Israeli government and members of the U.S. Congress. This policy, while singling out products made in the areas of Israel part of the pre-1967 armistice lines, supports the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. This biased labeling policy will inevitably result in boycotts of those Israeli products.
For decades, it has been the policy of the United States to oppose economic boycotts by other countries against Israel. In the 1970s, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation making it illegal for a U.S. company to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. In 2015, Congress has passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation requiring the U.S. to discourage Europe from enacting any politically motivated policies that would boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel when negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
There are thousands of areas around the world subject to sovereignty conflicts, and in hundreds of them the EU itself does not even recognize the sovereign government. In many of these regions, there are even United Nations resolutions which define them as “occupied” or “conflict regions.” Occupied Kashmir, Tibet, and Northern Cyprus are just some examples. Yet, of all these areas, the EU singles out only one nation to criticize – Israel.
The Cruz-Gillibrand Letter, released on November 9, 2015, states: “As allies, elected representatives of the American people, and strong supporters of Israel, we urge you not to implement this labeling policy, which appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products and promote a de-facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East. We believe strongly that these efforts are unwarranted, dangerous, and damaging to the prospects of a negotiated solution to [the Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.” It was signed by a bipartisan list of 36 U.S. Senators.
The Lamborn Letter, released on November 10, 2015, states: “As members of the United States Congress we are concerned that such measures will undermine decades-long American efforts to achieve a bilateral negotiated peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Moreover, such a policy will constitute the de-facto boycotting of Israel, its economy and commodities, due to the burden on importers to apply and adhere to them, as well as the negative effects on consumers resulting from the misguided suggestion that purchase of these good is ethically-questionable. These effects will, in all likelihood, reflect on Israeli products in general.” It was signed by 36 U.S. Congressmen.
“I would like to express my strong thanks to Senators Cruz, Gillibrand, and Congressman Lamborn and the other members of the US House and Senate for their leadership on this important issue. Though the EU proceeded with its guidelines, the US Congress has showed they will take a stand in support of what is moral and right,” Sarah Stern, EMET Founder and President said.
“Today is the 40th anniversary of the passage of UN resolution 3379, which equates Zionism with racism. This latest attempt by the EU to single out the Jewish State is a disturbing and shameful continuation of the international community’s attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State 40 years ago,” Stern added. “The world needs to remember that the Nazi movement began with boycotting Jewish owned businesses and Jewish professionals. The EU’s decision to publish labeling guidelines are dangerously reminiscent of these Nazi boycotts. And singling out Israel does nothing more than demonstrate the EU’s increasingly unhinged and irrational anti-Semitism,” Stern added.
“Throughout the Middle East, and even the world, religious, ethnic and gender minorities are being persecuted, and in many cases, being slaughtered. Yet the only nation that the EU is seeking to punish economically is the one nation in the Middle East that is a fully functioning democracy, with built in protections for all types of minorities. A nation which, time and again, has sought to make peace with its Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria. And this boycott will not only impact Israelis, but harm Palestinians currently working side-by-side with Israelis in Judea and Samaria in many of the factories producing the very goods the EU plans on labeling,” Stern added.