The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that goods produced outside Israel’s pre-1967 lines must be labeled as such, and may not be marketed as Israeli products. The judgment will impact food products imported into Europe from East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea, and Samaria, which the European Union does not recognize as Israeli territory.

“Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance,” the top EU court declared on Tuesday morning.

The EU ruling comes after East Jerusalem-based Psagot Winery challenged an earlier French judgment ordering the labeling of “settlement” products.

“These regulations are discriminatory and serve only to lay out a red carpet for the BDS movement. Staying quiet is not an option. The only option is to fight,” an attorney representing the winery said.

The Jerusalem Post reported the ECJ court’s decision:

The European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling on Tuesday on the legality of singling out products produced over the country’s pre-1967 lines in east Jerusalem, the Golan and the West Bank by labeling them as not made in Israel.

The issue has been a bone of contention between the European Union and Israel, since the EU in 2015 issued guideline on how its members states can legally label such products as “made in the West Bank” or “made in the Golan,” so as to distinguish those territories from internationally recognized sovereign Israel. The guidelines themselves were not mandatory, but individual member states had the option to mandate that they be used. (…)

The Psagot Winery, located in the West Bank, brought the issue to a head legally in 2016. Together with the Organization Juive Européenne (European Jewish Organization), it turned to the France’s highest court, the Conseil d’Etat to protest the country’s mandated settler product labeling, which went beyond the EU guidelines to specifically let consumer know that these products were produced in a settlement.

Last November, the French court referred the matter to the European Court, which a year later is now ready to rule.

The EU ruling comes on a day when more than 150 rockets have landed on towns and cities across Israel. Around 24 people have been hospitalized or treated for shock. The indiscriminate rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza started after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander suspected of planning an imminent terror strike against Israel.

“This is great timing. As Israelis are holed up in bomb shelters across the country, Europe reminds us how it consistently stands on the wrong side of history,” Jerusalem Post editor-in-chie Yaakov Katz wrote on Twitter.

The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization representing Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, slammed the discriminatory ruling, saying it will also impact Arabs employed by Israeli companies in the region.

“This is hypocritical decision, which stems from the lowest kind of anti-Semitism and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” the organization said in a statement.

The critics have very good reasons for questioning the motives behind the EU court ruling. The mandatory labeling policy singles out Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. China, which annexed the whole country of Tibet, or Turkey, which occupies parts of Cyprus, face no such discriminatory regime.

The Twitter-thread by George Mason University law professor Eugene Kontorovich gives us a much-needed perspective:

Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein on the EU court’s judgment

[Cover image via YouTube]


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