The British government wants to mark goods from Jewish settlements in the West Bank:
The British government has issued an official recommendation urging business owners to mark Israeli products produced in West Bank settlements so that consumers who want to boycott such items will find it easy to identify them. . .
According to European Union law, many types of products, especially food products, that are imported from outside the Union, by law must be labeled with the country of their origin. The British government issued its recommendation after several NGOs and marketing chains asked for guidelines regarding the differentiation between settler products and Palestinian products from the West Bank. According to the new guidelines, the British government recommends indicating whether the product was made by Palestinians or Israeli settlers on the label of every product originating from the West Bank.
The government recommendation goes further to say that labeling a product from a settlement as having been manufactured in Israel would be considered a criminal offense as it is misleading to the consumer public. . .
The British embassy in Israel issued a statement clarifying that this move was not a boycott. “This is a recommendation, not a binding order,” the embassy stressed. “The British government is opposed to any kind of boycott of Israel.”
First things first: the claim that the British government is opposed to a boycott is bullshit. If they were opposed to a boycott, they wouldn’t be taking steps to enable one.
Once again, Israel is being held to an entirely different standard than every other country in the world. As one Israeli official remarks:
Another government official said that . . . the British were “singling Israel out for this type of treatment, something that is very, very problematic.”
Why was it less important, he asked, for the British consumer to know that products they were buying were coming from other areas of dispute, such as Tibet, Kashmir, northern Cyprus, Chechnya, Kosovo, parts of Bosnia or even places like Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland?
Why is it less important? That’s what we call a rhetorical question; we all know what’s special about Israel. Since 1948, anti-Semites have tried — in the shadow of the holocaust — to give themselves a thin veneer of respectability by arguing that they are only against Israel, not Jews in general.
Also note that there will be criminal sanctions on anyone who labels goods from the West Bank as Israeli. Note that the West Bank includes East Jerusalem (which incidentally contains the entire Old City), which has been part of the Israeli capital since 1980. So any British subject who takes the position that Israel’s capital is part of Israel, and marks his goods accordingly, can go to jail.
But worst is the appalling lack of any sense of history this displays. The British government, facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, is directing shops to mark (some) Jewish goods. Do they really have no idea what this looks like?
(Via the Corner.)