Thursday, November 12, 2015
The European Union moved forward today with its requirement that Israeli goods made in areas captured in the 1967 Six Day War be labeled as coming from the territories rather than from Israel. There is any number of valid reasons supporting the argument that this requirement is unfair, counterproductive, discriminatory, and anti-peace.
Knowing that these very good arguments will not convince the Europeans, who have created a sub-culture and cottage industry out of their disproportionate compassion for the “plight of the poor Palestinians” while demonizing Israel as the world’s worst oppressor, I suggest that Israeli manufacturers include the following along with the EU label requirements:
“Made by [company name] by [number of employees] making an average of [wages] per hour, [_X_] times more than the average wage in the territories, with health benefits, pension, [any other benefits], which are equal to the wages and benefits paid to Israeli employees at the company.”
The label should include a picture of one of the Palestinian employees and his family with a caption:
“[Name of employee] and his family, [names of family members in picture]. Employed [____] years. Annual salary: ________, plus benefits.”
With no faith that the valid arguments against the EU labeling requirement will convince any European, but with a habitual dedication to making rational arguments, I offer mine in addition to my proposed labeling language:
--Did the EU ask about opinions of the Palestinian workers who will lose their jobs if the labeling achieves its intended result, which are the boycott of goods and the closing of the Jewish-owned facilities? Does anyone over in Europe think that the people whose livelihoods could be at stake have a legitimate thought on the matter?
--The labels will have no practical impact on Israel. Goods from the territories represent less than two percent of Israel’s exports to Europe. This is a practically meaningless yet hateful, counterproductive gesture.
--The requirement includes the part of the Golan Heights governed by Israel. Captured during the 1967 War, the Israeli Golan is an idyllic place filled with farms, wineries, B & B’s, animals, and canyons. Prior to 1967, the area was governed by Syria, a country whose artificial borders were determined by a Brit named Sykes, a well-known liar, and a Frenchman named Picot, a well-known drunk.
The Syrians used the Heights to fire down upon Israel. Now that Syria is disintegrating, the Syrian Golan is being fought over by what is left of the Syrian army, ISIS, Hezbollah, Iran, and, reportedly, by the four or five “moderate” rebels that the Obama Administration spent millions of dollars training. Does the EU advocate that Israel should return the Israeli Golan to that group?
--UN Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, refers to withdrawals from captured “territories.” The drafters of the resolution, with the U.S. contingent led by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and UN Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, deliberately did not use “the” before “territories” because they did not contemplate that Israel would withdraw from all of the captured territories. The resolution refers to withdrawal to “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
The resolution envisions negotiations to determine which territories would be withdrawn from. The Oslo Accords established a process for those negotiations, and also anticipates that the negotiations will determine borders. The EU, by requiring labeling for all of the captured territories, and by basing the resolution on the assertion that the area is not within Israel, violates the principles of UN Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords by determining what is and is not Israel.
--The EU’s actions do not advance negotiations and peace. In fact, they set them back. Why would the Palestinians negotiate and compromise when they feel that they are winning without compromising? Moreover, why would Israel compromise when it feels that the EU and others are picking the winner and encouraging the Palestinians not to recognize Israel?
--The Europeans want to play an increased role in making peace in the Middle East. Why in the world would Israel allow them to play such a role when they have proven clearly that they are not a neutral party?
--The EU has reached the heights of hypocrisy and has demonstrated that Europe is still infused with Jew hatred. Turkey has occupied half of Cyprus for 40 years. No labeling requirement. China has occupied Tibet for over 60 years. No labeling requirement.
Israel captured the territories in a defensive war. The boundaries of the region were not set. Prior to 1918, the area was part of the Ottoman Empire. From the early 1920’s to 1948, Egypt and Palestine were controlled by Great Britain, while Syria was a French colony. From 1948 until 1967 the Gaza Strip was controlled by Egypt, the West Bank by Jordan, and the Golan Heights by Syria. A grand total of one country, England, recognized Jordan’s claim over the West Bank.
Regardless of how one feels about the establishment of a Palestinian state today (and I support one if it leads to peace), it is clear that Israel did not conquer the territory from anyone with a more credible claim.
In other words, who controls the territory is a legitimate matter for negotiation. By choosing only these disputed territories, and by choosing to isolate and label the goods produced in territories controlled by the Jewish nation, Europe once again demonstrates that it treats Jews differently than any other group of people.
Moreover, by choosing one of the first tools used by the Nazis, labeling as a means to boycott, the EU shows that it is, at best, incredibly tone-death and stupid, or, at worst, still infected with the Jew-hatred that forever scars European history and may signal its descent into moral depravity.
(Originally published in The Times of Israel)
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