A modest proposal for Israeli product labeling

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is http://tuviainil.blogspot.com He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

Following the lead of the EU, the US has now announced new labeling requirements for products currently marked ‘Made in Israel’. According to US Customs CSMS #16-000047, dated January 23, 2016, all product made in “the West Bank or Gaza Strip shall be marked as originating from ‘‘West Bank,’  ‘Gaza,’ ‘Gaza Strip,’ ‘West Bank/Gaza,’ ‘West Bank/Gaza Strip,’ ‘West Bank and Gaza,’ or ‘West Bank and Gaza Strip.’ It is not acceptable to mark the aforementioned goods with the words ‘Israel,’ ‘Made in Israel,’ ‘Occupied Territories-Israel,’ or any variation thereof. Goods that are erroneously marked as products of Israel will be subject to an enforcement action carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection”.

This is an intriguing announcement. It’s intriguing because, for one thing, Jews no longer live or work in Gaza or the Gaza Strip. If you remember, with the world’s approval, Jews in Gaza were ethnically cleansed by the State of Israel more than 10 years ago.

Ethnic cleansing is a war crime. But when it comes to Jews, the world looks the other way. So Gazan Jews were expelled while the world said nothing.

Today, anything ‘Made in Gaza’ is Arab-made. US Customs doesn’t realize that. They think Gaza is Jewish.

What does that say about the competence of US Customs? For that matter, what does it say about the competence of the Obama administration?

The intent of this announcement is not to discriminate against Gazans. It’s to pressure Israel to surrender Judea-Samaria. It’s intent is to punish all things Jewish coming out of Judea-Samaria so that one of two things happens: (1) Jewish businesses leave Judea-Samaria, or (2) the State of Israel decides to pull all Jews out of Judea-Samaria.

This is an act of discrimination. The EU embraces it. Now, the US does. It seems that both find pleasure in what amounts to a pre-boycott action that will certainly encourage the world’s ‘boycott-Israel’ movement.

What does that say about the Obama Administration?

This announcement is non-boycott because it doesn’t declare that it is forbidden to purchase product made in these areas—at least, not yet. It’s more a pre-boycott alert system. It alerts consumers. It tells everyone who wants to boycott product from Israel which products are boycott-able.

It’s a more subtle form of the Nazi’s German national boycott against Jews in April, 1933. It’s more subtle.  But the intent is the same: to harm Jews.

Of course, it is absolutely discrimination. It requires no product labelling from other countries involved in land disputes. In case you think there are no land disputes outside Israel, you should understand that land disputes are more commonplace than countries that play American baseball. In fact, there are between 170-200 such disputes world-wide.

Nevertheless, this US Customs announcement targets only Israel. That’s discrimination because it requires prejudicial action against a specific, singled-our group—the Jewish Israel.

Israel itself correctly calls this labeling requirement discriminatory (Peter Foster, Raf Sanchez, “Israel fury after EU orders labels on goods from occupied territories”, thetelegraph, November 11, 2015). Israel also says those who use this requirement are hypocritical.

What does that say about the morality of the Obama Administration?

The US supports the EU’s anti-Israel labeling requirement (“’Made in Israel’ is not acceptable for any product made over the Green Line for both Washington and Brussels [Home base of EU]”, neweurope, January 29, 2016). The US claims to have done this because it had received nine ‘mislabelling’ complaints (ibid).

Apparently, the US will jump to action when it receives nine complaints.

Here’s a modest proposal for Israel. It’s not complicated.

Israel should remove all ‘Made in Israel’ labels from its product, just as US Customs demands. In place of ‘Made in Israel’, the government of Israel should require the words, ‘Made in the Land of the Bible’.

That’s it. US Customs will no longer see the words, ‘Made in Israel’.

If anyone argues that Judea and Samaria (what the gentile nations call ‘the West Bank’) have to be identified explicitly on a label, Israel should respond, they are on the label. If someone asks, how can Judea-Samaria be included in the words, ‘Made on the Land of the Bible’, the Israeli government should respond, respectfully, read the Tanach.

When a howl of objection goes up, we’ll know who the anti-Semites are. Any howl of objection over such an instruction shows no respect for the Jewish religion. It shows no respect for Jewish history. It shows no respect for Jewish Israel.

Since today’s anti-Semites work so very hard to argue that we must respect the Quran, Islam and Muslims, they should understand the need to respect the Tanach, Judaism and Jews. Anything less would be Judeophobic which.as you know, is as bad as being Islamophobic.

We all know how unacceptable Islamophobia is. Judeophobia is just as evil.

The Jewish Tanach clearly shows that Judea and Samaria are part of Jewish history and the Jewish religion, Judaism. They are very much part of ‘the Land of the Bible’.

Israel should be consistent. It should mark all product made in Israel as ‘Made in the Land of the Bible’.