Obama approves of EU labeling of Jewish products
US President Barack Obama's administration on Thursday voiced its approval of the discriminatory EU decision the day before to label Jewish goods from Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The administration said the move is only a "technical guideline," and is not a boycott, reports Associated Press - despite the obvious assumption that consumers would follow the labeling when choosing what products to buy.
US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, "we do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott. And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel."
Despite Toner's words, an expert at NGO Monitor spoke to Arutz Sheva about the labeling on Wednesday, and revealed that the move is the first step in a planned total boycott of Israel based on the stated goals of the groups who brought about the labeling.
The US had been slightly vague before the decision by the EU, with Toner saying the US opposes boycotting Israel but that the EU's position "shouldn't come as a surprise" given Israel's continued presence in its Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
But on Thursday, Toner said, "we understand the objective is to provide EU consumers correct information on the origin of products, as required by EU law. The EU has made clear that measures are not a boycott, and the EU has also made very clear that they oppose boycotts against Israel. EU guidelines for products that are sold in EU countries are for the EU to determine."
"These are technical guidelines delineating the origin of products. Consumers will then be aware of the origin of a product when purchasing it, as they are made aware for products across the globe," he said.
Toner went further by saying the US similarly labels imports from Judea and Samaria, noting such products must be marked "products of the West Bank," although there is no distinction between Jewish and Arab products as is the case with the EU.
Israel reacted by furiously pointing out the discriminatory nature of the EU labeling, with many noting that there are hundreds of territorial disputes around the globe which have not been targeted for labeling or boycotts by the EU, such as in Western Sahara, Tibet, and northern Cyprus.
Regarding the legal status of Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, and consequentially of products from the region, the 2012 Levy Report proved that Israel's presence is legal according to international law.
However, despite being commissioned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, two consecutive governments led by him have yet to adopt the findings of the report.