The European Union (EU), responding to demands by businesses in its member nations, plans to step up its labeling measures for Israeli products by requiring farmers based beyond the 1967 lines to clearly label produce as coming from “the occupied territories,” Israel Hayom reported today.
Farmers in Israel’s Jordan Valley were recently informed by two companies that export their produce to the EU that the new directive will take effect in mid-April. One Israeli exporter told Israel Hayom that following the EU’s decision to remove “Made in Israel” labels from settlement products in November 2015, many clients across Europe have made arrangements to implement the directive.
EU guidelines have left the exact nature of product labeling to the discretion of each member state. For the most part, settlement products imported to the EU are repackaged upon arrival at their destination, and a small sticker is added indicating Judea and Samaria as the goods’ point of origin. But one exporter said he was recently approached by several German supermarket chains which told him that Israeli manufacturers must now label their products prominently to indicate to consumers that they were “manufactured in territories occupied by the Israeli government.” Some German clients have decided to cease importing settlement goods altogether, he said.
The Dutch Agriculture Ministry informed importers last week that Israeli settlement products must be clearly labeled before leaving Israel, according to the Israel Hayom report.
“This is a purely anti-Semitic decision,” David Elhayani, the head of Israel’s Jordan Valley Regional Council, told Israel Hayom. “This is because we’re Jews. This is an act of humiliation, and they (the EU) are trying to make it look like we’re occupiers and land thieves.”