Knesset Speaker to Foreign Diplomats: ‘Boycott of Israeli Goods will Hurt Israel-Europe Relations’

Photo by Adi Gefen/TPS on 3 April, 2017

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 11 December, 2019

A European boycott of Israeli goods produced in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights or Jerusalem will hinder the relations between the two entities, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned European diplomats.

Addressing the Annual Knesset Gathering for Heads of Foreign Missions in Israel on Tuesday, Edelstein told 72 diplomats that the “boycott of goods from Judea and Samaria – there is no need to mention how sensitive this issue is among Jews.”

Jewish memory is sensitive to boycotts because of the Nazi boycotts of Jewish businesses in Germany.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in November that it is mandatory for member states of the European Union (EU) to label Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem or the Golan Heights as stemming from “Israeli settlements.”

Israel pointed out after the verdict that there are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes worldwide, “yet the ECJ has not rendered a single ruling related to the labeling of products originating from these territories,” and rejected the ruling as “both political and discriminating against Israel.”

Edelstein cautioned that the implementation of the verdict “may hurt Israel’s relations with Europe. If a country will adopt, in practice, the boycott of goods made in Judea and Samaria, the relations between Israel and that country will be harmed, and it is a shame that populations will be harmed as a result of foreign political considerations.”

‘Most Severe Instability Since the Beginning of Islam’

Briefing the gathering on the security situation in the region, Member of Knesset Moshe Ya`alon, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister, told the foreign envoys that the Middle East is in a state of “the most severe instability since the beginning of Islam.”

“The bad news is that it is not about to end anytime soon,” Ya’alon explained. “The good news is that this is not because of Israel. In contrast to the opinion which is occasionally heard, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the source of other conflicts in the region.”

“Actually, the Israeli-Arab conflict [does not exist anymore], and this is because Iran threatens everyone and Israel stands with the Sunni regimes on the same side,” he elaborated.

Israel’s ties with several Arab countries have significantly advanced in recent years, openly and covertly, as shared strategic interests, and primarily confronting Iran’s advent in the region, have brought both sides to the same table.

Israel is in the process of working on a non-aggression pact with several Arab states in the Middle East to face the common threat emanating from Iran, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz revealed in October.

After his visit to Oman in November 2018, Katz stated that visits by Israeli officials to Arab countries “are part of a wider trend of strengthening ties between Israel and the Gulf countries based on common interests and a mutual recognition of the potential benefits for both sides, both in terms of contending with common challenges and threats, as well as opportunities.”

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