A ruling by the European top court that products from the Israeli Jewish colonies must by labelled has increased Israel’s fears of a possible black list of companies operating in those areas. The EU’s Court of Justice ruled in November 2019 that products from the colonies exported to European countries, must be identified with labelling. The decision will make such products identifiable to the consumers who can make informed choice about whether to boycott them.
According to the Israeli Ynet news, the Yediot Aharonot website: “After several delays in publishing the blacklist of Israeli companies operating in Israeli ‘settlements’ (Colonies) in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, there have been Israeli concerns that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, will take this step without waiting for the formation of the next Israeli government.”
The report added: “Indications in Israel are that in the wake of the decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, according to which all European Union countries must put labels on ‘settlement’ (Colony) products — Commissioner Bachelet is pushing for publication of the blacklist at the earliest time and before the end of this year”.
Policymakers in Israel now realise that the BDS movement poses a threat to the occupation and contributes to a large extent in pitting international public opinion against Israel. This is bound to increase its international isolation in many parts of the world, with the boycott movement growing steadily, making quite a few achievements in several areas
Furthermore, it was revealed that “the Americans pass to Bachelet tough messages according to which the United States will take harsh steps against the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights if it publishes the blacklist, and certainly if it harms American companies. Therefore, the US Congress is studying serious steps against publishing the list.”
Israel fears the European decision, issued by the highest European judicial body, to become binding on all EU 28 states. It will set a legal precedent allowing similar steps to be taken in other countries outside the EU if it is invested, especially by the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel). Hence, the decision is considered an important step towards completely preventing the entry of products from Jewish Colonies into European and international markets.
It is also important to note the highly significant political dimension involved, because it is based on a rejection of recognising the legitimacy of the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands. It is especially important in light of the increased attempts by Israel to legitimise its control with annexation procedures in areas of East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley region and the so-called “C” area in the West Bank as well as in the Golan Heights.
International public opinion
Policymakers in Israel now realise that the BDS movement poses a threat to the occupation and contributes to a large extent in pitting international public opinion against Israel. This is bound to increase its international isolation in many parts of the world, with the boycott movement growing steadily, making quite a few achievements in several areas.
Israel recently used international extremist right-wing organisations to fight the boycott movement! Yediot Ahronot revealed “the provision of financial assistance to international organisations working against the boycott movement through the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, worth NIS (5.7) million, to organise events and activities for Israel, especially in the European Union, and to launch media campaigns through social networks.”
In the US, American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the biggest financial supporter of the coloniser movement established an American Jewish group with the aim of fighting the BDS in American universities. He financed it to expand its efforts to include six countries outside the US in the next academic year 2020, especially in Europe where the boycott movement is becoming more active and influential.
Named “Maccabi Task Force”, the group plans to “finance and assist pro-Israel student groups in confronting campaigns to boycott Israel. Despite the above, the BDS confirms that “the number of colleges supporting the boycott movement in North America has reached 51.”
Unmoved by attempts to fight BDS, the Episcopal Church in the US decided, at the end of October, to withdraw its investments and sell its shares in companies that support the Israeli occupation army: Motorola, Caterpillar, and Discount Bank. It was a step similar to that taken by the Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist, and United Christian churches.
Following in the same steps, the highest decision-making body of South Africa’s Anglican Church unanimously decided to support “the boycott campaign of Israel which must end its military occupation of Palestine.”
This decision was issued in the capital, Johannesburg, at the church synod held every three years and represents the Anglican communities in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Mozambique, Angola, and St. Helena. It states that “the situation in The Holy Land requires the Christian Church’s interest in the fact that Christ was born, raised and crucified in it.”
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopedia