KaDeWe Reuters

Europe's largest department store, KaDeWe, has retracted its earlier decision to remove products made in Judea and Samaria from its shelves, and apologized for the “confusion” its earlier statements on the matter created, a spokesperson told Channel 2Sunday afternoon. In response to requests by the TV station as to exactly which products were involved, a spokesperson for the store said eight wines made by wineries in the Golan Heights had been affected, and all those had been returned to the shelves.

We are sorry that the mistaken behavior of KaDeWe ignited this misunderstanding,” the spokesperson said. “We apologize for this.” In addition, she said, “we have a choice of over 200 products from Israel. We support international openness, and we reject all forms of discrimination.”

Earlier, a spokesperson for the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) department store, the biggest in Europe, told Der Spiegel magazine that the store had removed products made in Judea and Samaria, and would return them "only after fixing the labels” to reflect the fact that they were not “made in Israel,” but in areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines. She did not specify what label would be appropriate.

Responding to KaDeWe’s decision, a diplomatic source in Israel said on Saturday night that "KaDeWe’s move is appalling and disappointing. The store has a duty to repair the unnecessary damage it caused. Whoever starts with labeling products does not know how it will end."

Following the EU’s decision in favor of labeling products made in Judea, Samaria and the Golan, Israeli officials responded with anger, saying the move was essentially a boycott of Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed the store, saying that “this department store had been owned by Jews; the Nazis took it. Absurdly, the store is now labeling products from communities in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. It started with labeling products and now we are told that the products have been removed from the shelves – a boycott in every respect.”

After the Der Spiegel interview, the store rushed to explain its decision. "KaDeWe offers an international assortment and we are very proud of it," the store wrote in a Facebook statement. "Of course our assortment contains many products from Israel."

"As part of periodic inspections in the store, some products are taken off the shelves for a short period of time. After completing the tests we return the products to the shelves immediately," KaDeWe continued, in an apparent bid to distance itself from charges of a boycott against Israel. 

"Unfortunately these facts were mislead in some media. We deeply regret this," it added. KaDeWe stands for cosmopolitanism and internationality. We reject any form of discrimination and intolerance."

Hundreds of outraged people also stormed KaDeWe's Facebook page to lower its ranking in response to the move, Channel 2reported.

"You're an anti-Semitic store," one person wrote, urging buyers "not to go there. This is a store that works against Jews and Israel." 

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