Islamic Human Rights Commission
7th August 2002
ALERT UPDATE: Campaign against fraudulent labelling of settlement goods
Campaigners can celebrate the decision of the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last month, prohibiting the mislabelling of goods produced in the illegal occupied territories in settlements as ‘Made in Israel’. Such goods are still however being sold in stores around the UK by e.g. Selfridges.
IHRC’s campaign pack on this issue is still available to download from our website www.ihrc.org on the campaigns page.
The pack contains lists of goods as well as suggested campaign methods. For more information contact IHRC on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israel stung by imports ruling
Suzanne Goldenberg in Jerusalem
Saturday July 6, 2002
British supermarkets have been told that they must clearly identify produce on sale from the illegal Jewish settlements of the West Bank and Gaza.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said yesterday that it told importers last week that cherry tomatoes, baby potatoes, avocados, fruit juice and flowers grown in the illegal outposts could no longer be sold under the \”Produce of Israel\” label.
\”Supermarket customers over here raised questions about produce with supermarkets, who raised it with us,\” it said.
\”Produce from these occupied territories ought not to be labelled \’Produce of Israel\’, because the territories are not recognised as part of Israel.\”
The directive is largely symbolic. The value of exports from the settlements to the whole of the EU amounts to €20m (£13m) .
Nevertheless, the decision has dismayed the Israeli authorities, because it comes at a time of increasing sensitivity about Israel\’s isolation in the international community.
As far as Israel is concerned, the Palestinian uprising is a war of words as much as of weapons, and there is deep unease about the boycott of Israeli academics and goods from Israel proper by Palestinian solidarity campaigners in Britain.
The foreign ministry said Israel was still considering its response. But the newspaper Ha\’aretz reported that embassy officials were stunned by the directive and had complained that it was unfair and discriminatory.
Israeli peace activists, who have urged their fellow citizens to boycott settlement produce, welcomed the directive.
\”This is a very important step because this, in fact, is the crux of the issue,\” said Adam Keller, of Gush Shalom.
\”The issue is very simple: are these territories inside Israel, or are they not part of Israel?\”
The EU has stiffened its rules of origin, which means goods from the settlements will be subject to customs duty, unlike exports from Israel proper.