European NGOs want relabeling of ‘Made in Israel’ products

( A report produced by a group of 22 European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) urges the European Union (EU) to consider relabeling products made in Jewish communities in the West Bank to no longer carry the “Made in Israel” label, the Associated Press reported.

Many of the 22 NGOs involved in the report—including aid, development and church groups from nine EU countries—are generally unknown outside of Europe, leading some to the conclusion that this is a publicity stunt as part of the larger anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“The report contains many inexactitudes and self-contradictions, and its bottom line is not to clarify the situation but to push forward a political case,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor.

“This objective would have been much better served had the NGOs bothered to take into account all relevant facts and circumstances rather than cherry-pick those that serve their little political PR stunt,” Palmor added.   

The EU does not recognize Jewish communities beyond the 1949 “Green Line” and considers them an impediment to peace. Currently, the UK requires food produced in these Jewish communities to be labeled as “produce of the West Bank” and allows retailers to go further and label products as either “Israeli settlement produce” or “Palestinian produce.” Denmark also put in similar restrictions this year.

The report also urged the EU to consider further restrictions including a complete ban on Jewish products from beyond the Green Line, even though the report recognized the difficulties in differentiating between those goods and those produced in Israel proper. 

Posted on October 30, 2012 .