Michael Oren Urges Boycott of French Products

Deputy Minister Michael Oren appeared to call on Israelis to boycott French products in retaliation for Paris’s decision to label West Bank goods, a move that drew the ire of the French ambassador.

“France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products,” Oren tweeted late Sunday night.

He was referring to France’s recent decision to implement European Union guidelines, issued November 2015, that require manufacturers to clearly label certain Israeli-made goods produced outside the pre-1967 lines.

On Monday morning, France’s ambassador-designate to Israel, Helene LeGal, replied to Oren’s tweet, asking him whether he was “calling for boycotting French products when in France boycotting Israel is punished by law.”

The EU delegation to Israel also responded to Oren’s tweet, saying that the labeling guidelines were merely an “application of EU consumer information regulations.”

Oren, a deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, told The Monday that he was not calling for a boycott of French products but merely wanted Israeli consumers “to be aware that France is moving to label Jewish products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan.”

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem condemned the French decision to implement the EU Commission’s directives on labeling Israeli products produced over the Green Line.

“It regrets that France, which actually has a law against boycotts, is advancing measures that can be interpreted as encouraging radical elements and the movement to boycott Israel,” a statement read. “Moreover, it is unfathomable and even disturbing that France has chosen to apply a double standard with regards to Israel by ignoring the other 200 territorial disputes around the world, including those right on France’s own doorstep.”

According to Israeli officials, Paris decided to go ahead with the labeling issue as “revenge” for Israel’s vociferous objection to an international peace conference the government of President Francois Hollande plans to hold next month.

Like most Israeli politicians, Oren, a historian-turned-diplomat-turned-lawmaker, has been a sharp critic of the EU’s labeling guidelines, and even called them anti-Semitic.

“I call on Israeli merchants to label products made in Europe,” he said last year, posing for photographs in a Jerusalem supermarket. “The Israeli public does not have to buy products from countries that encourage anti-Semitism and prejudice.”

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Kulanu MK and former Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren encouraged Israeli consumers not to buy French products, noting France’s labelling of Israeli goods from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.

    In a Twitter comment late Sunday night, Oren wrote Israelis should “think twice” before buying imported goods from France.

    “France is labeling Israeli products from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan. Israelis should think twice before buying French products.”

    While France does not boycott Israeli goods nor encourage such boycotts, on Thursday the French government announced it would request all businesses to clearly label products produced by Israeli businesses in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.

    The decision came one year after the European Union issued a non-binding decision recommending member states single out all imports from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights that were produced by Israeli businesses, labelling them clearly as such.

    While the November, 2015 notification distanced itself from efforts to boycott Israel, the move was slammed by Israel, which claimed it would enable boycotters to target Israeli products and would help them delegitimize Israeli businesses.

    The EU has claimed that the 2015 decision was merely a clarification regarding its “consumer information regulations”, since it does not recognize Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

    Yet the EU’s “consumer information regulations” have yet to be invoked regarding other territorial disputes around the globe, where control or sovereignty is not recognized by the EU.

    Experts have long noted the EU’s “official double standard”; targeting Israel’s control of its historic homeland while ignoring Morocco’s occupation of the Western Sahara, Turkey’s control in Northern Cyprus, and a number of other disputed regions around the globe.

    In a letter to the EU’s Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton in November, 2013, Northwestern University professor Eugene Kontorovich and former Israeli Ambassador to Canada highlighted the European central government’s systematic singling-out of the Jewish state.

    “We understand that the EU has provisionally approved a contentious agreement with Morocco that extends EU-Moroccan fisheries treaties into the territory of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

    “We understand that the deal both applies beyond Morocco’s recognized sovereign territory into occupied territory, and further, actually pays Morocco for access to the Western Saharan fishery.

    “On all these points, it would appear that this agreement directly contradicts what the EU has called obligations of international law in its dealings with Israel and as such represents an official double-standard practiced by the EU.

    “ In fact, the EU has been negotiating this agreement with Morocco even as it imposes on Israel unprecedented funding guidelines and rules of origin requirements that say the exact opposite.”

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