Brussels, November 12, 2019–The AJC Transatlantic Institute regrets today’s EU Court of Justice decision mandating the labeling of Israeli foodstuffs produced beyond the Green Line. The ruling will likely be instrumentalized by those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state, which is why it’s now more urgent than ever to deepen the mutually beneficial EU-Israel ties.
“As supporters of a negotiated two-state solution, we believe that discriminatory labeling won’t help to advance peace. The weaponization of EU consumer protection law will complicate finding an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, which can only succeed in the diplomatic – not the judicial – arena,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the Brussels-based EU Office of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
“The blunt instrument of across-the-board labeling doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the conflict as, for instance, the rules also apply to the settlement blocs adjacent to the Green Line, which will remain Israeli in any conceivable future peace deal. What’s more, labeling is even mandated in the Golan Heights, a territory that has no connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and luckily is no longer under the control of the murderous Assad regime and his Iranian and Russian accomplices,” Schwammenthal said.
“Today’s decision is not taking place within a political vacuum but against the background of rising anti-Semitic attacks across Europe and persistent efforts by an extremist movement that seeks to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel. This BDS movement, whose activists reject Israel’s very right to exist, will claim today’s decision as a major victory in its campaign against the Jewish state. No doubt, the antisemitic BDS movement will use this ruling to intensify its shameful policy of bullying consumers and business owners into a de-facto ban of Israeli settlement products as a first step in its strategy to boycott all Israeli goods,” Schwammenthal added.
AJC therefore seconds the call of the European Parliament’s Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) group whose leadership said today: “Now more than ever it’s necessary for Europe to set a positive agenda with our key ally and only true democracy in the region.
“The EU must therefore immediately:
1) Set a date for an Association Council with Israel, which – incredibly – hasn’t been convened since 2012,
2) Upgrade and update the EU-Israel Association Agreement from the year 2000,
3) Finally agree on Partnership Priorities in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy.”
The full TFI statement of can be found here: https://transatlanticinstitute.org/press-releases/tfi-statement-eu-court-justice-decision-labeling
TFI is the first-ever friendship caucus specifically committed to bolstering the trilateral partnership between the U.S., Israel and Europe. Founded in July of 2019, TFI is headed by Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl (EPP). Vice chairs include MEPs Frédérique Ries (Renew Europe), Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe), and Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou (EPP).