`Israel Denounces EU Rules for Labeling Olive Oil from Occupied Territories - Olive Oil Times

Israel Denounces EU Rules for Labeling Olive Oil from Occupied Territories

Nov. 16, 2015
Wendy Logan

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In a move that Israel has denounced as dis­crim­i­na­tory, the European Union has announced that a new set of guide­lines for the export of con­sumer prod­ucts had been put in place.

Israeli set­tle­ments in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights will be required to label their goods with unam­bigu­ous lan­guage indi­cat­ing their ori­gin lies within an Israeli occu­pa­tion. The mea­sures will impact the olive oil trade, along with poul­try, dates, wine, cos­met­ics and other con­sumer goods.

We are not pre­pared to accept the fact that Europe is label­ing the side that is being attacked by ter­ror­ism.- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

No longer will Israeli farm­ers, vint­ners and other man­u­fac­tur­ers from these regions, even those who employ Palestinian work­ers, be per­mit­ted to label their exports as, sim­ply, Made in Israel.” Instead, the European Commission will now require the words Israeli Settlement” to fol­low the geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin of any goods exported to EU coun­tries. The areas in ques­tion were cap­tured by Israel in 1967.

Although the num­ber of exports to EU coun­tries from Jewish set­tle­ments is min­i­mal, Israeli lead­ers have con­demned the action, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken the deci­sion as a seri­ous affront to the rela­tion­ship between his coun­try and its largest trade part­ners.

The EU deci­sion is hyp­o­crit­i­cal and con­sti­tutes a dou­ble stan­dard,” Netanyahu said in a state­ment imme­di­ately fol­low­ing the deci­sion. The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not pre­pared to accept the fact that Europe is label­ing the side that is being attacked by ter­ror­ism.”


One group of nearly 1,000 farm­ers affected by the rul­ing, as rep­re­sented by the Jordan Valley Regional Council, have threat­ened to halt all exports to the EU nations, divert­ing their prod­ucts to the U.S., Russia, and Asia, reported The Wall Street Journal.

EU diplo­mats were insist­ing that the deci­sion was purely tech­ni­cal, apply­ing the EU pol­icy that set­tle­ments are ille­gal and that European con­sumers should be informed where the prod­ucts come from,” the Jouranl report said.

Some crit­ics of the mea­sure have pointed to the Commission’s incon­sis­tency in imple­ment­ing a rule that required, for the first time, a des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin that goes beyond stat­ing a place on the map.

Eugene Kontorovich in an opin­ion pub­lished today in the Washington Post argued, In no other con­text do geo­graphic indi­ca­tions go beyond place names to describe the peo­ple, legal regime, or alleged wrong­do­ings involved in mak­ing the prod­uct. It would be like label­ing goods Made in China (coerced labor prod­uct).’ ”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called the European Union’s guide­lines an irra­tional” move that does not con­tribute to solv­ing the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict.

Bradley Clapper of Associated Press reported that the Obama Administration appeared to dis­agree with crit­ics who likened the rule to a boy­cott.

We oppose efforts to iso­late or dele­git­imize the state of Israel,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner, adding, We do not believe that label­ing the ori­gin of prod­ucts is equiv­a­lent to a boy­cott. And as you know, we do not con­sider set­tle­ments to be part of Israel.”

Nonetheless, a bi-par­ti­san group of 36 U.S. sen­a­tors from both sides of the aisle signed a let­ter stat­ing that the action appeared to pro­mote a de facto boy­cott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democ­racy in the Middle East.”

It remained unclear whether the Israeli Prime Minister will adhere to the new rules.

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