NEWARK – With the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) set to soon issue its final decision about labeling of food products imported from Israel, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to E.U. Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis to express his concerns.
The CJEU ruling will impact whether the EU could require Member States to label products made by Israeli-owned companies in Jerusalem, including in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and in territories beyond the Green Line, as, for example, “Made in the West Bank (Israeli Settlement).” Products made by Palestinian-owned companies in that very same region could be labeled “Made in Palestine”.
“The regulation in question is problematic for a number of reasons, including because it targets specific businesses based on the ethnicity and national origin of their owners," wrote Menendez. "I am deeply concerned that if the CJEU decision empowers the EU to require or allow its Member States to label Israeli and Palestinian products in the manner proposed it would allow and encourage the politicization of EU rules of origin labeling with potential adverse unintended consequences...Additionally it could facilitate Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) tactics and de facto boycotts and discrimination against Israel, and its products and potentially lead to discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion and nationality, contrary to existing EU policies and laws against BDS campaigns, Israel boycotts, and discrimination.”
On November 12, the Court of Justice of the European Union is set to issue its final decision on a case that began when an Israeli winery in the West Bank and a pro-Israel advocacy group appealed a French court’s decision that determined that wines produced by Israeli settlers may not be labeled as “Made in Israel.
A copy of the letter can be found here.