Israel – European Union In State Of Disunion

December 16, 2015 by David Singer
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Hungary and Greece have broken ranks with the European Union in signalling they want nothing to do with the recently introduced EU labelling laws requiring Jewish products originating in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to have special labels and not be marked “made in Israel”.

These decisions follow hard on the heels of European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel chairman – Fulvio Martusciello – warning:

“The decision to label products was a mistake. Europe is loud about Israel, but quiet about 200 other conflicts around the world.”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced Hungary’s decision:

“We do not support the decision to make a special mark on products coming from the West Bank or the Golan Heights. This step is inefficient and illogical. It would only hurt attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” 

Greece’s decision was communicated by letter from its Foreign Minister to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Israel – when extensive bilateral cooperation in economic matters, technology, science, education, trade, energy, and agriculture were concluded.

Meantime German Chancellor Angela Merkel is backing a recent German Foreign Ministry statement that the new EU labeling initiative:

“does not deal with a stigmatized warning decal, as many have presented… What Brussels wants is, however, only a clear designation of the origin of the products.”

This Foreign Ministry thinking was no doubt influenced by the illegal invasion of many hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants into Germany and the huge economic and social problems faced by Germany in their resettlement.

Merkel has publicly opposed boycotts of Israel – which continues to receive preferential market access from Germany.

Will Germany’s Foreign Ministry now call for similar EU labelling of goods originating from other disputed regions around the world?

Surprisingly EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini – following talks with EU foreign ministers on 14 December – chose to refer to two points that were not part of the agenda but were debated among those present:

“One is related to the Middle East peace process, especially after the adoption of the technical guidelines on indication of origin. We had an exchange of views in this respect with the ministers, and we commonly decided that it was important also for me to pass this message publicly that the Council and the European Union stay united on these technical guidelines on indication of origin, which is in no way a boycott and should in no way be interpreted as one,”

Claiming to be united on these “technical guidelines” – despite their having been already rejected by Hungary and Greece – is surely deceptive and misleading.

Describing the labelling of Jewish products – but not Arab products – as “technical guidelines” – is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

They constitute clear “stigmatized warning decals”.

Mogherini continued:

“The second thing on which the Council was completely united is our continued engagement in the Middle East peace process and in broader bilateral relations with Israel. There is full unity and solidarity among member states and among European institutions on that.”

Mogherini is seriously mistaken if she thinks Israel will allow a clearly conflicted EU to remain part of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers which also includes the UN, United States and Russia.

No amount of doublespeak will enable the EU to escape the charges that these labelling requirements:

  1. Are racist and discriminate against Jews
  2. Trample on Jewish vested legal rights to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Judea Samaria and East Jerusalem

Double standards and political hypocrisy will eventually bring even the most powerful down to earth.

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International. 

Comments

3 Responses to “Israel – European Union In State Of Disunion”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Good, clear points you make, Paul. And it’s a fine thing that Greece and Hungary stand apart instead of following European Union like sheep, making their own choice of attitude and thereby choosing their own way.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Good article David, but instead of repeating that there are over 200 places in dispute that are not subject to EU labelling it would have been helpful to readers to mention some of those. No labelling is applied to products from:
    * that part of Cyprus which Turkey invaded, ethnically cleansed of Greek and colonised with mainland Turks violating the Geneva conventions
    * Western Sahara invaded by Morocco which has walled off the local Saharawis
    * Tibet invaded and colonised by Chinese
    * Gibraltar held be the UK since the Napoleonic Wars
    * Basque and Catalan regions under Spanish control
    * Balukhistan taken by Iran some decades ago

    The Hungarian and Greek governments are rational and principle while Germany is trying to hide the EU’s antisemitic stance. Further, as some lawyers have pointed out the EU under crypto-commo Mogherini could well be taken to court for violating trade conventions.

    • david singer says:

      Paul

      You mentioned Western Sahara

      Have you read the following article:
      http://www.thetower.org/2701-legal-scholar-european-hypocrisy-on-israel-exposed-by-western-sahara-court-ruling/

      “A ruling delivered by a European court last week on a trade deal between the European Union and Morocco undermines the legal basis behind the EU’s recently implemented labeling guidelines on Israeli goods produced beyond the 1967 armistice lines, international law expert Eugene Kontorovich wrote on the Walla news site (Hebrew link) on Wednesday.

      Kontorovich explained that the EU’s second highest judicial body, the General Court, determined that the fishing agreement between the EU and Morocco must be annulled because it also applies to the Western Sahara, a disputed territory that Morocco captured in 1975. The court cited United Nations resolutions that classify the territory as occupied, and faulted the EU for pursuing the accord with Morocco without making distinctions about products manufactured in the Western Sahara.

      Despite this, the EU announced on Monday that it is appealing the court’s decision.”

      Shows how hypocritical and biased the EU is when it comes to Israel and acts very differently when it comes to Morocco.

      This case establishes beyond doubt that the EU’s labelling requirements for Jewish products from Judea and Samaria are clearly racist and discriminatory when compared to the way it does not similarly act in relation to goods from other disputed territories around the world.

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