Thoughts on EU labeling

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....
Before I share my thoughts about the recent decision by the European Union to discriminatively label products produced in certain parts of the Land of Israel, I would like to point out 2 realities about Europe that are constant and didn't start today or any time recently:

1) Europe is virulently anti-semitic

2) Its always a good thing to fight our enemies (in this particular case: Europeans) 

With that mind, I applaud the Israeli Government's strong condemnation of this immoral decision by the European Union and I support any and all actions against/penalties inflicted on the European Union. (Incidentally, the first thing that should be done is the knocking down of all the illegal buildings on the way to the Dead Sea with EU labels on them!!! that would be more than appropriate!! )

My main thoughts on this issue are in a different place. I must first state that I'm certainly no expert on economics and I can't claim to have any more than basic knowledge about Israeli exports. However, its seems to me that there are two possible and separate reasons why people produce products in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights: ideological and economic. Ideological products would include wine (like Psagot, Shilo, Yarden) and olive oil. Purely economic products would come from companies like Sodastream (formerly near Maale Adumim) and Beigel Beigel (formerly in Barkan).

Both Sodastream and Beigel Beigel have recently fled Judea and Samaria for fear of economic persecution, exactly similar to what the European Union has just enacted. Who is most negatively affected by this? The residents of Maale Adumim? No! Its the Arabs that all lost their jobs! Why was Sodastream located there in the first place? Let's be honest, for cheap land and cheap labor! Did their presence strengthen our hold on our land? Maybe slightly, but very slightly. Same goes for Beigel Beigel and many other companies that will be primarily affected by the European decree. (I'm in no way a fan of "Times of Israel" or the "reporter" that wrote this, but it presents my intended message quite well:

Why are the Shiloh Winery and Meshek Achia Olive oil companies located at Shiloh? For all the right reasons! Do Arabs work there? Yes, but so do many local Jewish residents. Besides that, these products dramatically strengthen our hold on our land. They globally publicize the Jewish history of the area as well as our modern achievements. Additionally, they buy olives and grapes from Jewish farmers throughout the region. One need just visit Shiloh to see the dramatic effect of these operations on the entire area. There is NOTHING a bunch of anti-semites in Europe can do to stop this! 

One final thought: maybe instead of overly bemoaning Europe's hatred of Jews (again, nothing new), we should be asking our current "right-wing" Governemnt why they refuse to annex Judea and Samaria (at least the Jewish Communities there). This wouldn't solve our "problem" with Europe, but in modern-Israel fashion, it would proclaim our national sovereignty loud and clear and significantly strengthen our return to our ancestral heritage. Afterall, hasn't this been the exact historical purpose of Europe?  

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem (feel free to label me!!)