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Netanyahu's double standards on settlement product labels

Israel reached agreement in 2005 with the European Union to identify settlement products on export certificates, yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hints at the Holocaust in objecting to the Europeans' decision to require labeling these products to inform consumers of their origin.
BARKAN, WEST BANK - JULY 30: The Israeli settlements of Barkan (left) and Kiryat Netafim (center) separate the Palestinian village of khirbet Bani Hassan (top left) July 30, 2004 from the of the West Bank settlement industrial area of Barkan (below). According to the left-wing Israeli movement Peace Now, some 230,000 Israelis live in 145 settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, not including the scores of illegal outposts which Israel had promised the United States it would dismantle. (Photo by David Si
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Let us say that a God-fearing London Jew has developed a craving for the kosher sesame seed candy halva. Let us also say that the man is a fervent Zionist as well as a human rights activist who refuses to buy products originating in the occupied territories. The Jew goes to the kosher food shelf at his neighborhood supermarket, and much to his delight, he finds a chunk of halva labeled “Achva, established 1929, Tel Aviv,” and below that, sees its kosher certification and the words “Under the supervision of the Jerusalem Supreme Jewish Court of Justice.” Just to be on the safe side, the man whips out his smartphone and Googles Achva. He finds phone and fax numbers with a 03 area code, designating central Israel, and also reads that the plant had “bought a plot of land” on which it built “one of the largest state of the art food manufacturing plants in Israel.” Our liberal halva aficionado breathes a sigh of relief. The packaging quite clearly states “Israel.” There's no sign of a settlement being involved. The Jew’s mind is put at ease. He puts the slab of halva in his shopping cart and returns home a happy man.

The average person would not know that the Achva factory is located in the Barkan Industrial Zone. How many Israelis, not to mention Europeans, know that this zone lies in the heart of the West Bank? The story of the halva company illustrates the absolute need for the Sept. 10 decision — adopted with a sweeping majority by the European Parliament — to clearly label products as originating in the settlements, effectively removing obstacles from the path of the blind. To be clear, no European or any other country has joined the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The parliament's decision in no way involves the boycott of the settlements or even discrimination against their products. Rather, it is meant to remind the citizens of Israel and of Europe that an industrial zone in the occupied territories is in no way the same as one located within a state’s, i.e., Israel's, sovereign territory.

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