As Israel suspends ties with EU in Palestinian peace talks, German BDS activists conduct settlement label inspections

Published November 30th, 2015 - 07:43 GMT

A group of self-styled “goods inspectors” in Germany this past weekend went on a campaign in which they label all the Israeli products they can find as being “from illegal Israeli settlements”, JTA reported Sunday.

The move follows the European Union’s (EU) recent decision to label Israeli products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights as “settlement products”.

According to JTA, on Saturday, the proponents of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement visited businesses in downtown Bremen, located in northwest Germany, checking to see that products from the regions in question were not marked “Made in Israel.”

The group, dressed in white overalls, reportedly visited fruit stands to department stores ostensibly to enforce the new labeling rule. A spokesman for the group admitted to the German-language TAZ newspaper, however, that the so-called “inspectors” were making an educated guess on which products actually originated from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.

According to JTA, one of these “inspectors” laughed in the face of a passerby who accused the activists of anti-Semitism.

The incident follows another incident in Germany just last week, when German department store KaDeWe removed Israeli products from its shelves, saying it would return the products but "only after fixing the labels."

Following backlash from Israel, however, the store retracted its earlier decision and apologized for the “confusion” its earlier statements on the matter created.

Following the EU’s labeling decision, Israeli officials responded with anger, saying the move was essentially a boycott of Israel.

EU officials, however, have denied that the EU is boycotting Israel. The EU’s ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen lashed out at critics of the body's controversial decision, saying, “Talk of a European boycott just does not stand up to a reality check. Let me say loud and clear: Europe is not boycotting Israel, and Europe is not boycotting settlements.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to reassess its involvement with EU institutions regarding the political process with the Palestinians, in the wake of the labeling decision.

Until the assessment is completed, Netanyahu ordered the suspension of all political contact with EU institutions and representatives on the issue. The Foreign Ministry clarified that Israel is still dealing with individual nations within Europe, including Germany, the UK and France, but not with EU institutions.

By Ben Ariel

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