Sometime in the near future the EU is expected to publish guidelines on consumer labeling of all Israeli products produced over the so-called “Green Line,” the armistice line created when the war against the nascent Jewish State ended.
The EU considers all Jewish cities and towns over the pre-1967 lines to be illegal. As such, anything produced, grown or packaged in either eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria or the Golan Heights will be labeled so that consumers can more easily boycott those products.
The guidelines will be published by the office of Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief. No vote is required for this measure to be taken.
There is pushback to that labeling plan coming not only from Israel, but also from many members of the U.S. Senate.
Three dozen U.S. Senators sent a letter to Mogherini, decrying the decision of the European Union to place labels on all those products imported into the EU which are produced beyond the “Green Line.”
The bipartisan letter, co-sponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), calls on the EU to refrain from this labeling effort which, they explained, is a mere cover for boycotting Israeli products.
“As allies, elected representatives of the American people, and strong supporters of Israel, we urge you not to implement this labeling policy, which appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products and promote a de-facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East,” the letter states.
“We believe strongly that these efforts are unwarranted, dangerous, and damaging to the prospects of a negotiated solution to [the Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.”
The full text of the letter and all the names of the 36 signers follows:
November 9, 2015
Ms. Federica Mogherini High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice-President of the European Commission (HRVP) Delegation of the European Union to the United States Suite 800 2175 K Street NW Washington, DC 20037
Dear High Representative Mogherini,
We write to express our concern over reports that the European Union (EU) intends to move forward with new guidelines to label certain products made by Israeli companies imported into the EU. In April, more than half of the foreign ministers of EU member states sent a letter encouraging you to proceed with this policy, and members of the EU Parliament subsequently voted to endorse this initiative in September. As allies, elected representatives of the American people, and strong supporters of Israel, we urge you not to implement this labeling policy, which appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products and promote a de-facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East. We believe strongly that these efforts are unwarranted, dangerous, and damaging to the prospects of a negotiated solution to this conflict.
We are also deeply concerned that enacting this policy would lead to the broader boycott of Israel. For decades, it has been the policy of the United States to oppose economic boycotts by other countries against Israel. In the 1970s, the United States Congress enacted legislation making it illegal for a U.S. company to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. This year, Congress has passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation requiring the United States to discourage Europe from enacting any politically motivated policies that would boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel when negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Differentiating between products made by Israeli companies creates a troubling precedent that could eventually lead to the type of activities that the TPA provisions aim to address.