Finnish anti-Israel hating politicians like Heidi Hautala (Greens) and minister of culture and sports, Paavo Arhinmäki (The Left), have been banging the BDS movement’s drum against Israel as well. They focus on Israel because its the easy target, while for an example, China, Cyrpus and Kashmir are not.
Israel protests EU meeting on labeling settlement products
Meeting follows European memo discussing visa ban for “violent settlers”; J’lem singles out British, Irish, Danish and EU foreign services for promoting the conference along with various NGOs.
Israel registered a protest with the EU last week regarding a conference scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels about the possibility of labeling goods made in the settlements.
Rafi Schutz, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Europe, called the ambassadors of Denmark, Ireland and the EU to the ministry on November 19, in the midst of Operation Pillar of Defense, to protest the scheduled meeting, called an “informal technical workshop on settlement products and related policy issues.”
Schutz also protested by phone to a ranking official at the British Embassy.
Britain, Ireland and Denmark, as well as the EU’s foreign service, were singled out for promoting the conference along with various NGOs.
Denmark started the ball rolling on labeling goods in Europe that came from the settlements, following a decision in principle to do so that South Africa made earlier this year.
That decision has not yet been fully implemented; one of the issues holding it up has been how to label the goods. It was finally decided to label them “Made in Israeli Occupied Territory.”
Schutz told the ambassadors that the move unfairly singled out and discriminated against Israel, because while this was not the only area in the world where there was a territorial dispute, it was the only area in the world regarding which the EU was discussing specially labeling goods.
For example, goods originating from northern Cyprus, Tibet, Kashmir, the Russian-held regions of Georgia, Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan, and Kosovo are not specially labeled.
Schutz also said that some of the NGOs participating in the conference, such as the Irish Trocaire, were involved in the boycott and divestment movement against Israel. Meanwhile, he pointed out, some NGOs that didn’t support the labeling had not been invited to the meeting.