Israel suspends meetings with EU over labeling

EU envoy to Israel informed Jewish state will not participate in several scheduled talks because of EU's new 'discriminatory' practice.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with Prime Minister Netanyahu
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with Prime Minister Netanyahu
Amit Shabi / POOL/FLASH90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday likened the European Union's decision to label Jewish goods from Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Israel in retaliation also called off a number of scheduled EU meetings.

"The labeling of products of the Jewish state by the European Union brings back dark memories, Europe should be ashamed of itself," Netanyahu said as he wrapped up a visit to Washington.

"It took an immoral decision...this will not advance peace, it will certainly not advance truth and justice. It's wrong," he said in an English-language video clip posted on Facebook.

He drew the same comparison in September when he said that Israelis "remember history and we remember what happened when the products of Jews were labelled in Europe." 

"Of the hundreds of territorial conflicts around the world it chose to single out Israel and Israel alone," Netanyahu said, adding that labeling would not hurt Israel's economy but would affect jobs for Palestinian workers employed in the areas in question. 

Israel's foreign ministry summoned the EU envoy to the country over the decision and called the step "discriminatory."

EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen was informed that Israeli officials would not attend a number of scheduled EU meetings, the ministry said.

"Because of the latest EU decision, Israel is suspending its diplomatic dialogue with the EU in various forums which had been scheduled to take place in the coming weeks," it said.

On Tuesday, in anticipation of the move, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) called the labeling measure "disguised anti-Semitism."

Trade from Judea-Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights accounts for only a small portion of commerce between the EU and Israel, but carries important symbolic weight.

AFP contributed to this report.