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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘trade’

How the EU Will Reverse Itself, in Three Easy Steps

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Yesterday’s announcement by the European Union, to block funding to any organization that has direct or indirect ties over the Green Line (Jerusalem, Golan, Judea and Samaria), unless they are a leftwing organization, has shocked Israel.

The overt anti-Semitism, the transparent politicization, and the blatant chutzpa took Israel by surprise. Worse, at first it felt as if Israel were trapped in a corner with no options to respond.

But reality is different.

The EU is in bad shape. It has economic problems, social problems, and credibility problems.

With its most recent action, the EU overplayed its hand, not considering the backlash the decision could cause.

Some responses Israel may choose would hurt the EU quite a bit.

THE PEACE PROCESS

In March 2012, following a UN attack on Israel that went too far, Israel announced a boycott of the UN Human Rights Council, declaring it a “superfluous and extravagant body” that Israel would have no connection to anymore.

This caused an earthquake in the UN, and it still threatens to destroy the credibility and legitimacy of the council.

Most importantly, Israel’s declaration has forced the HRC to take clear steps to correct itself.

The first action Israel must take here as well is the most obvious one: the EU craves legitimacy on the international stage. With wildcat strikes hitting Greece, Spain, and Portugal, to name but three ailing EU members, the organization must prove it is relevant and credible.

Israel should expel the EU from the Peace Process.

Israel should declare—something Prime Minister Netanyahu was hinting at in his Tuesday night statement—that the EU and all its member states will no longer be considered honest brokers, and no Israeli official will meet with them on any issue related to the Peace Process. It only takes a simple statement, and it will be enough to cause them to capitulate.

Any member state wishing to be included in the peace process must sign a statement that the territories of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights are in dispute and their fate will be determined through direct negotiations. It must also commit to disregarding the EU directive regarding those same territories.

Be firm and consistent – they will fold.

Israel is an important trade partner with Europe, and its third largest trade partner in the region following the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Israel buys from Europe more than it sells. A retaliatory trade war and boycott in response to their expulsion from the Peace Process would hurt the already flailing European economy, it’s the last thing they want, and not a step they would take in response.

DIVIDE AND CONQUOR

Next Israel must immediately pass the Foreign Agents Act, with an additional stipulation.

As the EU’s declaration makes it clear that they will now only be financially supporting NGOs on the far left, Israel must make it clear that any NGOs receiving EU funding are de facto foreign agents. These NGOs fund raising will be curtailed, their access to Israeli government officials would be restricted, and their entry into the Knesset will be forbidden.

Watch the left wing NGOs quietly pressuring the EU to back off their directive.

All it takes is a firm conviction on our part.

REPLACEMENT THERAPY

The third step is financial.

The EU invested close to 1 billion dollars in research grants and investments, some of which could now be lost.

Israel should approach private, patriotic wealthy Jews — Sheldon Adelson, who put his money where his mouth was this past U.S. election, comes to mind — to pick up the slack. In return, those who invest in Israeli research will reap the benefits in royalties, shared patent ownership and so on. They could stand to make a lot of money.

Stand your ground, don’t blink, they’ll blink first.

Stephen Leavitt

Delaware Top Destination for Israeli Firms Incorporating in US

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Governor Jack Markell, the only sitting Jewish Governor in the United States, and a delegation of Delaware entrepreneurs and business leaders are visiting Israel on a week-long economic development mission.

The trip highlights Delaware’s strong economic ties to Israel and aims to further raise Israeli business interest in the State.

The delegation will be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, financial and stock exchange officials as well as with DuPont Israel, Delaware’s largest commercial presence in Israel.

Thousands of Israeli-based businesses are incorporated in Delaware, which Gov. Markell said “is an ideal choice for Israeli companies seeking to enter the U.S market.”

“We are one of the smallest U.S. states, but have succeeded in building an effective system that minimizes red tape for businesses, eliminates archaic regulatory hurdles, and provides business leaders with easy access to senior state officials,” he explained.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu Views Chinese Wall ‘Security Fence’

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited the Great Wall of China on Thursday, allowing him to make the obvious comparison with Israel’s security fence, dubbed by leftists as the “Apartheid Wall.

Unlike the Chinese Great Wall, the “wall” in Israel extends less than 10 percent of the total length of the fortification, the rest of which is a fence.

“Just as the Chinese defended themselves by barricading themselves behind the Great Wall, so to will we [Israel] fortify ourselves along the southern border, the Golan Heights and all fronts,” the Prime Minister said during a brief stop and photo opportunity during his five-day trip in China.

He said the Great Wall inspired him as Israel built the security fence along the southern border with Egypt.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has concentrated on trade and economics with China during his visit. Chinese leaders and the Prime Minister have signed a series of trade and cultural agreements since he landed on Sunday.

Jewish Press News Briefs

UK May Withdraw Ambassador to Israel, France Seeks ‘Other ways’ to Protest E1 Plans

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Britain is considering withdrawing its ambassador to Israel following the decision to revive settlement building plans, Sky News reported.

The British Government will be deciding today how to respond to Israel’s plan to pick up housing construction in the “controversial” E1 zone, off of East Jerusalem.

Sources have told Sky News that the Foreign Office is considering what action to take saying “all options are on the table”.

This could include withdrawing the British ambassador to Israel and the suspension of trade agreements.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu’s government approved a proposal to build 3,000 additional homes that would effectively cut off Arabs in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem from the PA controlled territory.

Britain’s apparent diplomatic threat comes the day after the settlement plans were condemned by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as an “almost fatal blow” to peace hopes.

Britain’s diplomatic action is likely to be coordinated with other European powers, most notably with France, which is laboring on a joint response.

Except that, according to Israel Today, the French government denied rumors about returning its ambassador from Israel, saying “there are other ways to show our disagreement.”

Sources have described “an appetite for action” within the Foreign Office, which could also mean of “revisiting” the EU’s trade agreements with Israel, or, in other words, reneging on them.

The UK could invoke human rights clauses in those agreement, to suspend the trade association agreements.

Matthew Gould was appointed as Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel in September 2010.

On taking up the post he said: “We come out determined to help build the strongest possible partnership between Britain and Israel, and to help ensure that Britain and Europe do everything they can to help the people of Israel move forward on the difficult path towards peace and lasting security.”

Jewish Press Staff

22 European NGOs Seeking Ban on Trade with Israeli Settlers

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Though Europeans enjoy the import of many products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a new effort on the part of a group of European NGOs may put an end to the trade, in the name of supporting Palestinians.

The European Union has maintained that Jewish communities in the biblical heartland to the north and south of Jerusalem – known by them as the “West Bank” of the Jordan river but to lovers of the Bible as “Judea and Samaria” – are “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Yet its constant importation of products from the areas have provided some of the support that allows the areas to thrive and grow, according to a new report, and must end, according to an article chronicling efforts to stop the practice in Der Spiegel.

According to the report, Hans van den Broek, a former European Commissioner for External Relations, has initiated a study: “Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements.”

The study shows that European countries import 15 times more goods from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria than they do from Arab ones.

Der Spiegel reported that Israel’s government records an estimated €230 million ($298 million) in produce, toys, textiles and cosmetics exported to the EU yearly from Judea and Samaria – approximately 2% of all its exports to Europe, despite a European Court of Justice ruling in 2010 excluding Jewish products from Judea and Samaria from the EU’s international customs cooperation agreements.

The products have been brought into Europe because they are labeled as Israeli, and do not identify their specific point of production in the blockaded areas (in the UK and Denmark, producers from Judea and Samaria are obligated to mark their products).  To such a degree does Europe attempt to boycott Judean and Samarian products, that European customs authorities are obligated to check the postal codes from which the products arrive, to determine if they were sent from Jewish areas in the forbidden zone – yet , according to the study, officials often fail to do so.

The new group seeking to boycott Jewish products from Judea and Samaria is pushing to require all producers from the area to label their products, so that the EU can deny them entry.

The report decried Israeli government assistance to residents in the opposed region.  Yet Der Spiegel’s article noted that “the European Union provides the Palestinians with massive amounts of support. Between 1994 and 2011, some €5 billion in development aid was sent by the EU according to the European Commission, €525 million of that in 2011. In addition, several EU member states send aid independent of EU funding.”

The report noted that if Europe severely restricts its participation in anything to do with Judea and Samaria, it can affect real change.  It noted last year’s decision by the German national railway company, Deutsche Ban, to pull out of a project to build a high-speed railway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as a positive example.  Deutsche Ban backed out of the project after German Transport Minister Peter Ramsaeuer wrote a letter to Deutsche Ban’s CEO, noting that 3.7 miles of the track would run through areas Germany considers to be Palestinian territory, making the project a problem “from the perspective of human rights”.

Malkah Fleisher

Israeli Pharmaceutical Sales Certified in Europe

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The European Parliament has approved a pharmaceutical trade agreement with Israel after two years of attempts by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to block the partnership.

The Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), simplifying sales of Israeli pharmaceuticals in the European Union, passed Tuesday by 379-230.

The measure recognizes Israeli pharmaceutical standards as equal to those of Europe.  It was approved by the European council in March 2010, but its implementation was thwarted by pro-Palestinian organizations who sought to foil Israel’s entry into the European market.

Malkah Fleisher

Ki-Moon Passes on Offer to Take Flying Leap With Baumgartner

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Sound barrier-breaking world record skydiver Felix Baumgartner was politely declined by an unlikely protégé on Tuesday, after offering to teach UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to sky dive.

Baumgartner and Ki-moon met during a photo opportunity, following Baumgartner’s 24 mile-above-the-Earth dive.  When Ki-moon spoke about Baumgartner’s achievement, the death-defying Austrian offered to teach him the tricks of the trade.

Ban did not take Baumgartner up on his offer, but called him “the most courageous person in the world”.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/ki-moon-passes-on-offer-to-take-flying-leap-with-baumgartner/2012/10/24/

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