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Israel targets boycotters as EU moves against settlements

On the same day the EU adopts guidelines for labeling settlement goods, the Knesset passes a preliminary reading of a bill to prevent entry to individuals who support a boycott of Israel.

Construction expands the Israeli settlement Beit Orot in the Al Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, February 28, 2011. Unilaterally annexed by Israel after the War of 1967, East Jerusalem, including the Old City, are still considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Construction expands the Israeli settlement Beit Orot in the Al Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, February 28, 2011. Unilaterally annexed by Israel after the War of 1967, East Jerusalem, including the Old City, are still considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The European Union approved a plan Wednesday to begin labeling goods produced in West Bank settlements, raising the ire of the Israeli government, even prompting a response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the very same day, the Knesset approved a preliminary reading of a bill to ban individuals who call for a boycott of Israel.

“The Israeli economy is strong and will withstand this, those who will suffer will be the Palestinians who are employed in Israeli factories,” Netanyahu said in response to the EU decision, adding that the union “should be ashamed” and that Israel is “unwilling to accept the fact that the EU labels the side being attacked by terror.”

According to the guidelines, the EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty beyond the Green Line, regardless of how those territories are regarded by Israeli law. EU member states will determine which punishments they will enforce on anyone who does not abide by the regulations (the regulations require states to levy sanctions against those who violate them). The European Commission will retain the option of opening proceedings for clarifying violations in the event that member states do not deal with the matter themselves.

According to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to be reprimanded for the decision on Wednesday evening.

A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the EU for choosing “for political reasons, to take such an exceptional and discriminatory step, inspired by the boycott movement, at a time when Israel is confronting a wave of terrorism targeting any and all of its citizens,” adding that “it is puzzling and even irritating that the EU chooses to apply a double standard concerning Israel, while ignoring that there are over 200 other territorial disputes worldwide, including those occurring within the EU or on its doorstep.”

Police watch from above as solidarity activists hold a banner reading "Boycott Israel" during a protest in front of the Norwegian Parliament building, Stortinget, Oslo, March 30, 2015. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Police watch from above as solidarity activists hold a banner reading “Boycott Israel” during a protest in front of the Norwegian Parliament building, Stortinget, Oslo, March 30, 2015. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Over 550 Israelis, including former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and political scientist Zeev Sternhell, published a petition Wednesday in support of the EU’s decision, saying that Europe’s distinction between Israel and the settlements is a “step that could help promote a peace agreement, and it will also strengthen Israel’s overall status in the world and will undermine attempts to delegitimize it.”

Earlier Wednesday the Knesset approved the first reading of a bill that would forbid entry into Israel of anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel.

According to “Law Preventing Harm to the State of Israel by Means of Boycott – 2011” a boycott against the State of Israel is defined as: “deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or body solely because of their affinity with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage.”

Although the it has only passed the first of several legislative steps, the government has thrown its support behind the bill.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Average American

      Is international law to be followed or not? Answer is yes or there is no law. Israel has its own internal laws and own beliefs, but they are increasingly isolating themselves with these. EU also has its own laws and beliefs, and these are more in line with the rest of the world. Increasingly, Israel’s only protector is USA (and I don’t know why) but other countries or EU are just as free as Israel to do what they want. Now look at it in a positive way: what if the labels INCREASE sales of west bank goods because now people in favor of The Occupation will know what to buy to support it?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      False Victimhood Manipulation Alert ==> Netanyahu said the EU “should be ashamed” and that Israel is “unwilling to accept the fact that the EU labels the side being attacked by terror.”

      Shameless.

      (Chemi Shalev reported that Netanyahu’s decision – on the eve of his White House meeting – to appoint as Israel’s new director of hasbara someone who had called Obama an anti-Semite on Facebook and then ask for a massive American security package led some Americans to recount the fable about the scorpion who stings the frog that is carrying him across the river–“That’s my character,” he said.)

      It’s of course true that all of the Israeli economy is intertwined with the occupation and boycotting only so-called West Bank produce is silly and covers over the fact that Israel in practice erases the green line in every way that pleases it and perpetuates it in every way that pleases it. But just having produce arriving across Europe labelled “from the (occupied) West Bank” is a form of publicizing what is going on–consciousness-raising.

      Reply to Comment
    3. This is obviously supporting those who are against Israel in keeping their land. The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed. I guess President Obama wants us to be cursed; but these are the end times and the clock is ticking down. Today all of the worlds wars, economic problems, weather issues, and the great efforts being made to give world wide authority to one body to solve the problems of war and economic issues, fit what the Bible points out for us to look for in the coming tribulation period! Because we can see things occurring and falling into place rapidly we should know that the rapture of the church is near. We are obviously living toward the end of the church age in what is called the end times or last days. Recently we may have been witness to the fulfillment of Genesis 49:25 with the discovery of a large oil strike in Israel. I wrote a small book about the end times, Biblical prophecy, and the tribulation period. It’s just for your information and consideration and it’s free. I don’t even accept donations on my or anyone else’s behalf. It’s a short read of about 7 pages. I encourage you to take a look. http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Richard, what would Jesus do?

        http://972mag.com/no-jesus-would-not-be-a-settler-hed-practice-solidarity/109338/

        By Activestills | July 27, 2015
        No, Jesus would not be a settler — he’d practice solidarity

        Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says Jesus would be considered a settler if he lived in Bethlehem today. Such talk obscures the nature of the settlement enterprise and slanders Jesus.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is all they’ve got. The sputtering rage of the right wing. They have no other answer. Commenters are getting “Jew hater” flung at them around here like a semi-automatic weapon and now we have one of them openly advocating murder of +972 journalists. Lovely. As sure a sign as anything that they have no answer. They only reflect the spirit of the occupation.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”Commenters are getting “Jew hater” flung at them”

          Commenters? You mean lying hateful propagandists like yourself Benny? You are not a commenter. You are a one eyed hypocritical polemicists who tells lies like there is no tomorrow.

          Reply to Comment