Skip to comments.The Lawless Label: 'Made by Jews'
Posted on 02/27/2014 5:49:57 AM PST by SJackson
For how much longer can the war of words over the legality of settlements rage back and forth? Even a final verdict, for or against, would be unproductive. Legal or not, some 400,000 Jews in 130 settlement towns arent going anywhere, and demanding that they go reflects a desire for ethnic cleansing that we may relegate to a league for criminal maniacs.
Those without a bone to pick would accept facts on the ground and enter a war of words that will go somewhere. Europes trade policy for occupation products has a murky record that looks set to get grubby. Now theres a war worth fighting.
"There do not appear to be any European Commission laws which could be breached by a member state taking the decision to ban the import of settlement produce
With this ruling Cambridge professor of international law, James Crawford gave Europe the nod. Go ahead ban settlement products.
Observe the slippery slope. Notice how freely one can slide from labeling products to a blanket ban on products. From there to a blanket ban on everything made in Israel is no more than a slip. One country has already slid to the very bottom.
The South African Government reaffirms its policy to increase support for the Palestinian people and the boycott of Israel.
After all the speaker who handles trade policy, a communist named Rob Davies, had started with a claim that he wanted traders to label goods from Israel correctly, honestly. Goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) should be labeled as such; to protect shoppers what else. Mark, the man said nothing about boycotting Israel.
Made in Israel or made in the West Bank?
So heres the thing. Hand in glove with boycotters, politicos speak with forked tongue. When they call for labeling of settlement products they are really initiating a blanket boycott of Israel. They expect a minor label to conceive a major boycott.
And in all probability it will. Thin-skinned company management will contemplate subterfuge logistics, legal risk, reputational harm, picket mob threats. Theyll do the sums and tally up to a business nightmare. Better not stock Israeli goods at all.
Foreign investors can be even more risk-averse. Public servants advised Hollands leading engineering firm that a treatment plant it was developing to control pollution in the Kidron stream might violate international law. It didnt take long for the company to quit the project.
Trade policy as a dogged attempt to bring a targeted nation to heel is the art of manipulating law codes for political ends. Economic sanctions lie at the polar end of trade policy. Call them hard diplomacy, sanctions are clear expressions of the motives for imposing them. We are told that the object of sanctions on Iran is to prevent the mullahs going nuclear.
On the other hand, trade laws and regulations can be soft instruments of diplomacy. Their purported purpose often hides real motives. Label regulations are supposedly meant to protect shoppers, but could be a trade ban in a velvet glove.
Europe flirts with a label to identify products made in West Bank Jewish settlements. Martin Schulz is the incumbent president of all Europe. Though he personally no-nos a label scheme, Eurocrats will have their way, he warned Israel.
Martin Schulz 'The President of all Europe'
There is an enormous pressure, also in the European Parliament, to label products because a lot of my colleagues consider the settlements illegal and think that the rule should be that products coming from regions with an illegal status couldnt have normal access to the European market.
Everything the president said may be true, but all is false. Schulz and colleagues remember, hold political office. They might be full of the right virtues and surprise us. Even unelected Eurocrats could be virtuous. So much we may give them but no more. The world of Schulz and colleagues, recall, is EuroWorld, a hive of bees-in-the-bonnet people, drunk-on-power officious people, agenda driven broad and narrow-thinking people; horse traders and power accumulators, in brief.
'EuroWorld' where expediency rules the roost
When expediency rules the roost, as it rules in EuroWorld, foreign policy may be wrapped in trade law. Even so petty a detail as a product label could be the means to bring some targeted country to heel. It is not at all difficult to apply one and the same law code for a dual purpose: (1) for a genuine trade agreement and (2) for some underhand foreign gamble.
Take Europes deal with Morocco. This involved trade law for a genuine agreement. The fishy deal allows Europe to exploit the waters off Western Sahara which are really not Moroccos to sell. The waters fall under occupied territory, and Brussels wont recognize Moroccos claim to them. But that hasn't stopped it paying Morocco for rights to fish the waters. Nor should it have. According to a legal ruling international law is no obstacle, not even for foreign companies to operate in occupied territory.
. That was the above-board case. For the below board case consider THE occupation, the one that keeps Europe awake at night. Tick first the box for compatibility. Just as Europe wont recognise Moroccos claim to Western Sahara, so it wont recognize Israels claim to the West Bank. It deems both occupations illegal. No problem there.
Now things get grubby. Brussels had no problem making a commercial agreement with Morocco, but with Israel Brussels will have no commercial truck. Horrified Eurocrats throw up their hands: trade agreements would violate international law. The idea of rewarding Jews for occupying territory earmarked for other people is beyond the pale. Down comes the gavel in the court of Brussels, the smack of wood on bench echoing up to the heavenly court. Our bible is international law, the Ambassador tells a group of Israeli rabbis, reciting as if taking his oath of office on a sacred screed.
Hereafter murk falls upon the deep. Europe pays Morocco to exploit scarce resources in occupied Western Sahara. In parallel it withholds money from Israel for West Bank developments academic and commercial projects which in no way deplete resources, neither on earth nor in water. Far from it. Israels West Bank developments only create jobs and livelihoods, not least for Europes sacred Palestinians.
Moreover, projects in the West Bank are confined to areas under Israeli jurisdiction (from the Oslo Accords). Moroccan projects, in parallel, are limitless. Surrendering land to the contesting party is characteristic only to Israel. Morocco, ungenerous to a fault, holds onto every square meter of occupied land.
Eugene Kontorovich, a professor of international law and fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, throws a double edged sword at Europe. On the one hand he lauds Europe for being right about Western Sahara. But that can only mean Europe being wrong about Israel. You cant reward one country for occupation and punish another for that crime.
The message Europe wants to send Israel through a tough diplomatic line is that the occupation of the West Bank, and the settlements, are the source of diplomatic (not legal) problems. But by not holding any other occupation to the same standard Europe sends another message: it is not the settlements that bother Brussels, but Israel itself.
Made by Jews
Warning labels are in vogue. Cigarettes can seriously damage your health. Caution hot liquid! Anti-Israel advocates also want to develop public fear and loathing. Warning Jewish-made products can kill!
Would Europes pending product label develop fear and loathing? Would it punish legal suppliers and dupe innocent shoppers? The following labels would cross both red lines.
Made in Occupied Palestinian Territories
Made in the West Bank
Made beyond the Green Line
Youll not find a legal place among this lot. All wait upon a political settlement between two sides. A label conveying that green lines, west banks and OPTs exist would not be helpful information; it would be a propaganda gimmick.
The labeling of goods that come from over Israels Green Line (a non-border 1949 armistice line) would: (a) Express not merely a political viewpoint, but a viewpoint in conflict with a history ineffaceably stamped in articles of international law. And (b) Invent a territory conjured up by UN lounge-abouts and their like.
A label telling consumers, or even implying, that Palestinian territory is occupied would be a lying label. The situation simply does not exist. No international law provides for Palestinian territory. The disputed lands, if they belong to any UN member, belong to Israel.
To be sure, Brussels and Washington, diplomats, politicos and civil activists will take offence, but its their bible after all. They throw international law, with the zeal of Jeremiah the prophet, in the face of the people of Israel. Well then, give Brussels and co some of their medicine back. Throw the bible at them. Let them open documents and tomes of international law and find pieces of land called Occupied Palestinian Territories or OPT. Then ask Brussels and co how it can be possible to violate make-believe territories earmarked for a make-believe collective.
By all means label products from Israel. But when theyre made beyond some arbitrary line, label them accordingly, honestly. Dont take consumers for a ride. Keep to the spirit, and the letter, of consumer protection law. Give the shopper correct information, knowledge without the politicking.
Made in Judea and Samaria, by Jewish and Palestinian workers
Now theres a label to satisfy the most discerning shopper.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Boycotts were used by the anti Semites to allow the mass population to participate at least passively in anti Semitic activities. This desensitized them to accept the horrors to come. anti Jewish legislation, Kristalnacht, forced emigration, arrests and finally executions. Israelis know what is happening with these European boycotts.
After the Nazis conquered Denmark during World War II and forced all Danish Jews to wear Star-of-David armbands to identify themselves, the wonderful Danish people responded by adopting the practice of wearing the same armbands themselves in solidarity.
If the current anti-Semitic European government decides to act like the Fourth Reich by decreeing that Israeli products must be labeled as such, why should we not expect many decent Europeans to respond in the Danish way by going out of their way to BUY Israeli products in solidarity with the unjustly treated Israelis?
I'm okay with labelling products for that reason. I personally sometimes make purchasing choices based on the origin of a product. Yes to Israel. No to anything supporting "marriage equality."
It becomes a real problem when a government can decide to ban imports from Israel (or "Bad Country Y"), though.
Gosh, why does this sound so familiar? </irony>