Senators denounce EU's labeling plan

Senators Ted Cruz and Kirsten Gillibrand head bipartisan initiative which expresses concern over plan to label Judea and Samaria products.

Elad Benari ,

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Republican presidential candidate, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), on Monday sent a bipartisan letter signed by 36 senators to Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Commission.

The letter expresses concern over reports that the European Union (EU) intends to move forward with new guidelines to label Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria.

“As allies, elected representatives of the American people, and strong supporters of Israel, we urge you not to implement this labeling policy, which appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products and promote a de-facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East,” the senators wrote. 

“We believe strongly that these efforts are unwarranted, dangerous, and damaging to the prospects of a negotiated solution to this conflict,” they added.

The letter continues, “We are also deeply concerned that enacting this policy would lead to the broader boycott of Israel. For decades, it has been the policy of the United States to oppose economic boycotts by other countries against Israel. In the 1970s, the United States Congress enacted legislation making it illegal for a U.S. company to comply with the Arab League boycott of Israel. This year, Congress has passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation requiring the United States to discourage Europe from enacting any politically motivated policies that would boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel when negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”

“Differentiating between products made by Israeli companies,” the letter said, “creates a troubling precedent that could eventually lead to the type of activities that the TPA provisions aim to address.”

The senators also expressed concern that “the EU is considering a proposal intended to impose more diplomatic and economic pressure on Israel” during the current period of regional instability.

“The proposed labeling guidelines play into the narrative of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is an effort to delegitimize Israel rather than promote a resolution of outstanding issues between Israel and the Palestinians. Far from advancing such a resolution, the proposed labeling would prejudge the outcome of future negotiations,” they added.

“We call upon you not to adopt the proposed labeling guidelines. Thank you for your attention to this important matter,” the letter concludes.

The EU last week indicated that it intends to start labeling Jewish-made products from Judea and Samaria soon. Senior EU officials stated to Arutz Sheva that there was "no room for negotiation" with Israel on the topic of labeling Jewish goods. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely opened Israel's battle against the labeling decision on Tuesday, calling the EU out for "discriminating" against the Jewish state.

Likud MK Miki Zohar has proposed legislation that would respond to the labeling plan by having Israel label products from the same countries which singled out Judea and Samaria products.