US/World News

France warns vendors to apply stricter labels to settlement goods

(JTA) – A French government anti-fraud agency is requiring vendors to specify whether goods originate in Israeli settlements. The demand, which an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson said gives “tail wind to radical actors and the boycott movement against Israel,” was published Nov. 24 in the French government’s Official Journal. The circular requires the use of the word “colonies,” French for “settlements,” to specify goods originating in Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

The European Union, which last year adopted regulations on labeling settlement goods, has issued no regulations on labeling of goods from other disputed areas, including Western Sahara, which is under Moroccan control even though the United Nations has called the kingdom’s presence there an occupation. It is currently fighting a ruling from December by an EU appeals court that designates Western Sahara as occupied. It applies a different set of trade restrictions to Northern Cyprus, where Turkish Cypriots run a sovereign entity unrecognized by the European Union and backed by Turkey.

“It’s astounding and disturbing that France chose to apply a double standard only to Israel, while ignoring more than 200 territorial conflicts worldwide, including at its own doorstep,” said Emannual Nahshon, the Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson.

Separately, the municipality of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, which is located 250 miles north of Oslo, last week adopted a resolution endorsing a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, the Adresseavisen newspaper reported.

In response to the French government statement, Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States who now serves as deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, said Israelis should “think twice” before purchasing French products. “France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products,” Oren, of the Kulanu party, wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday night, Nov. 26.

CAP: SodaStream’s West Bank factory was relocated to the Negev following international criticism. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

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