TEL AVIV – The outrage sparked by the European Union’s decision to label Israeli goods made in eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank is being voiced in myriad ways. Following the Paris attacks, some condemned Europe for being obsessed with boycotting Israel instead of fighting terror.
In an op-ed on the Paris massacre, David Suissa, president of the Jewish Journal, wrote, “Europe will need a lesson in the priorities of labeling. Label the terrorists, yes. Label their ideology, yes. Label the allies who can help you fight them, yes. Just stop labeling Israeli tomatoes.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the labels, saying the EU “should be ashamed.” He compared it to the Nazi-era practice of boycotting Jewish businesses and forcing Jews to wear yellow stars. The Jerusalem Post reported that in “outright defiance of European boycott threats,” one winery in the Golan Heights decided to print the Israeli flag on the caps of bottles headed to Europe.
Pro-Israel advocates point out that the EU does not label products from disputed areas such as Tibet, Kashmir, Northern Cyprus, and Crimea. When Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU ambassador to Israel, was asked why the Jewish state was being subjected to this double standard, he answered, “All those situations that you are referring to, they are different from the one that we have here at hand.”
This contradicted Faaborg-Andersen’s earlier statement that the measure is a “very technical matter” and part of “uniformed standards that are applied to all products irrespective of the place of origin.”
The Canadian newspaper the National Post published an article by Kelly Parland that asserted, “To pretend the EU decision is merely an administrative quirk is to trivialize the spiteful nature of its impact.” The move, she wrote, is “unquestionably discriminatory and meant to have a punitive impact on Israel.”
Some pundits have pointed out that by labeling goods made beyond the Green Line, the EU is essentially dictating the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state. This seems to be in direct violation of EU policy, which holds that those borders can only be negotiated by Israel and the Palestinians.
Israelis are asking why Europe seems determined to isolate Israel by aligning itself with the boycott movement instead of allying itself with the Jewish state in a bid to fight terrorism – something that, given its long history of terror attacks, Israel is more than equipped to do.
Following the carnage in Paris, one Israeli posted a Facebook status that explained his refusal to change his profile picture to a French flag: “The French government has been condemning Israel at every chance they had! While we are sending our condolences and support to France, they didn’t even bother to cover the attack on Friday when a Jewish father and son were gunned down by Muslim terrorists! France took Hamas off the terrorist list and instead started marking goods produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria!” It quickly went viral.
The author, Ari Fuld, a sergeant in an IDF reserve paratrooper unit, ended his post by explaining why he chose to use his own nation’s flag as his profile picture instead: “Here is the Israeli flag… The one flag that is condemned and yelled at from every international podium for fighting the same evil that murdered over 130 innocents.”