JERUSALEM – Greece announced its refusal to adhere to the European Union’s policy of labeling Israeli products manufactured in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, theTower.org reported.
Greece’s rejection of the EU guidelines follows a visit to Israel by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. In a note written by Tsipras in Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s guestbook, Tsipras acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It was a “great honor to be in your historic capital and to meet your excellencies,” the note read. TheTower.org reported that an unnamed Israeli diplomat said the acknowledgement was “unprecedented, especially for a European leader.”
Greece is the second European nation to declare its refusal to adhere to the labeling guidelines. During a visit to Israel last month, Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó said that his government would not be following the directive. “We do not support that decision. It is an inefficient instrument. It is irrational and does not contribute to a solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], but causes damage,” Szijjártó contended.
Last month, the ruling party in Germany, the Christian Democratic Union, also criticized the directive. Jürgen Hardt, a spokesman for the party, said, “In this case there foremost is a danger of a stigma. An anti-Israeli movement might exploit the decision and put it to use on anti-Israeli campaigns.”
Hardt also said that the Christian Democratic Union “considers that stigmatization and boycott are not probate to facilitate the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The labeling legislation has also been heavily criticized by Israeli officials as being discriminatory and singling out the Jewish state despite there being more than 200 disputed territories around the world.