B’nai B’rith International Dismayed By European Court Of Justice Ruling On Labeling Israeli Products
(Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is dismayed by today’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling imposing labeling guidelines on Israeli products originating beyond the pre-1967 lines.
The decision is applicable to products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and comes in response to a case initiated by the Organisation juive européenne and the winery Vignoble Psagot Ltd. It specifies that labels must contain the phrase “Israeli settlement,” and that a precise, but unclassified mention of the location is insufficient.
The ruling cannot be appealed and is binding. While it is aligned with general European Union (EU) labeling guidelines, it is blind to context and future implications. Without a doubt, this new policy’s implications for EU positions on Israel will be a green light for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporters and the singling out of Israel for further criticism and attack.
The decision negatively impacts the peace process, seeks to undermine Israel’s legitimacy and works against purported EU support for a directly-negotiated, mutually agreeable solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
The ruling represents the consolidation of a non-binding opinion forwarded by the ECJ in 2015 that was widely viewed in EU member states as detrimental and thus disregarded.
In 2018, a large and comprehensive report by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency showed Jews in Europe are routinely victims of the implantation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into Europe. We are further concerned that today’s ruling will have a negative impact on European Jews, possibly exposing them to an increase in anti-Semitic attacks.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the announcement by the European Commission that it will name a coordinator for combating anti-Semitism. The new official will report to Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, who will serve as special envoy for countering anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
B’nai B’rith and other civil society groups had urged the European Union to appoint an official to oversee the effort to fight anti-Semitism.
The continued growth of anti-Semitism across Europe requires an EU-wide approach to dealing with the problem. The appointment of a special envoy and coordinator on anti-Semitism is an important step in this direction.
We pledge to work closely with EU officials to ensure that the work of the Commission and the European Parliament yields positive results in tackling anti-Semitism.
B’nai B’rith International is disappointed the European Parliament has passed a resolution that will allow European governments to label products made in the West Bank, a policy that will cause great economic and political harm to the Jewish state.
The resolution, which passed by a vote of 525-70, is an affirmation of the discriminatory goals of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Such a misguided policy is destructive to the peace process and gives momentum to opponents of Israel who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state by weakening its economy and isolating it politically.
We call on European governments to reject this biased and counterproductive resolution.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns the latest anti-Israel terror attack, this time at the Israeli embassy in the Athens suburb of Psychiko where men on motorcycles opened fire with Kalashnikov automatic rifles on the front of the building early this morning. Fortunately, no one was injured.
B’nai B’rith commends Greek authorities for reacting swiftly, deploying police to the crime scene and vowing to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice.
As we’ve seen in recent months and weeks, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise and they must be stopped. B’nai B’rith has repeatedly brought to light the troubling silence of the international community over these acts of terror, as well as the need for European governmental and law enforcement officials to engage in proactive efforts to counter these attacks.