The NGO-Driven European Labeling of Israel
“The European Union’s decision to label Israeli-made products from beyond the Green Line is another act in the ongoing NGO campaign to delegitimize Israel,” Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor said. “This strategy is also the driving force of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns, and it is led by EU-funded NGOs that are detrimental a peaceful, negotiated solution.”
For years, the EU has given money earmarked for humanitarian aid and peace-building to political groups that abuse human rights to promote their own agendas. These organizations have lobbied hard for the EU to adopt their ideas, with the rhetoric of “consumer choice” masking what is clearly an anti-Israel measure.
NGO Monitor research shows that NGOs push labeling as a first step in the BDS process, aimed at all Israeli products and services. This allows these NGOs to talk about the pre-1967 lines while actually targeting Israel within the 1948 borders.
The 2012 “Trading Away Peace” report is a prime example of such activity. In October 2012, 22 NGOs released “Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements,” a report repeating the BDS agenda and calling on the EU and national governments to wage political warfare through various forms of economic sanctions on Israel.
The publication’s “Recommended measures (for national governments and the EU as appropriate)” begin with “correct consumer labelling of all settlement products as a minimum measure” (emphasis added) and increase in severity to “ban imports of settlement products,” “exclude settlement products and companies from public procurement tenders,” and “prevent financial transactions to settlements and related activities.”
Other examples can be seen in the recent actions of FIDH and its Palestinian affiliate Al Haq. In January 2013, Al Haq published its “Feasting on the Occupation” report, which described “the issue of labelling settlement produce, which Al-Haq considers as an interim measure in the process of adopting a ban [on trade in goods originating from Israeli settlements].” Al Haq’s Director Shawan Jabarin, who has been linked by Israeli and Jordanian authorities to the PFLP terror group, repeated this demand at a September meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held in Brussels.
These NGOs have been working together to ensure “EU does not stop at labeling products from the settlements: obtain ban.” According to a presentation by Genevieve Paul of FIDH, this is an example of FIDH’s “added value” in its collaboration with Al Haq on economic warfare against Israel.
When, in September 2015, the EU leadership decided to label goods from Israeli settlements, the Palestinian BDS committee issued a statement in which it openly stated labeling was not enough. “The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), considered the European Union’s move towards labelling Israeli settlement products…as insufficient for fulfilling European states’ legal obligations under international law.”
“The multiplicity of examples shows that many highly political NGOs are not only following the EU’s decision to label products, but that they were active in shaping the resolution and promoting it as a step in their long war against Israel,” Steinberg said. “The EU and its member countries are the primary supporters of many of these BDS-related NGOs. This support is inconsistent with Europe’s claims to promote international values and human rights.”
For more examples and facts about the NGO campaign behind the labeling view the online NGO Monitor report by clicking here.