EU Court on Brink of Mandating Anti-Semitic Product Labeling

August 13, 2019
Pope Francis said recently that he was “concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934.” He was talking about the rise of extreme nationalism and populism, which he feared could lead to the fragmentation of the European Union. The pope should be worried about any current resemblances in Europe to the Nazi past, but the pope’s praise of the European Union as an antidote is premature. Indeed, the European Union itself is on the verge of reviving the Nazis’ stigmatization of Jewish-made products on the pretext that they come from “occupied” Palestinian territories.
According to sources cited by the Washington Beacon, “The European Union is poised to mandate that Israeli products made in contested territories carry consumer warning labels,” which is seen by Jews as “an ominous warning sign that they say is reminiscent of Holocaust-era boycotts of Jewish businesses.” The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued a non-binding opinion to the effect that EU law requires the labeling of such products as coming from "settlements" and "Israeli colonies." He analogized this situation to the European boycott of South African goods during its apartheid period. "The absence of the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of a product originating in a territory occupied by Israel and, in any event, a settlement colony, might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food," the Advocate General said, referring to food products. Israeli occupation and settlements could be “an objective factor which might affect the expectations of the reasonable consumer,” he added.
Brooke Goldstein, a human rights lawyer and executive director of the Lawfare Project who has fought the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in various courts, remarked, "The Advocate General's opinion said that goods produced by Muslims are to be labeled from ‘Palestine,' and goods produced by Jews labeled as coming from ‘Israeli colonies.’ Both people are living in the same geographic location, and yet Jewish goods are being treated differently."
Discrimination on the basis of religion is a transgression of basic human rights that violates Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The EU Court of Justice’s 15 judge panel is expected to issue a binding ruling mirroring the Advocate General’s opinion. If it does so, the EU court would be handing the BDS movement a major win against Israeli Jews by codifying blatant discrimination against Israeli Jewish businesses.
Consider how differently the European Union treats Turkish settlements in northern Cyprus. There are currently about 115,000 Turkish settlers and 35,000 Turkish occupation troops in northern Cyprus according to the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus. Despite Turkey’s invasion and military occupation of northern Cyprus, and the forced dislocation of tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots from their homes as Turkish settlers moved in, the European Union has allocated funds to developing and restructuring the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus’s infrastructure. Germany, Denmark, and other European Union member countries import Halloumi cheese, a major product from Cyprus that may soon receive a “Protected Designation of Origin” from the European Union covering Cyprus as a whole. There appears to be no initiative to require further labeling of Halloumi cheese produced by Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus as coming from “settlements” or “Turkish colonies.”
On April 1, 1933, a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses broke out across Germany as the SS stood in front of such businesses to inform the public that Jews were the proprietors. The word “Jude” was smeared on store windows and the Star of David image was painted on doors to serve as anti-Jewish labels. Discriminatory laws singling out Jews followed in succession, codifying Nazi anti-Semitism. The infamous Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," occurred on November 9, 1938, followed by the transfer of Jewish-owned businesses to so-called "Aryans." Germany descended from there to the “Final Solution” of the Holocaust.
Germany officially professes to remember this dark time in its history with deep regret. Last May, Germany’s legislature declared the BDS movement to be “anti-Semitic” in a resolution co-sponsored by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Union Party, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party. The resolution stated that "all-encompassing calls for boycotts in their radical nature lead to the stigmatization of Israeli citizens and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole. This is unacceptable and worthy of the sharpest condemnation."  The resolution added, “The BDS movement’s ‘Don’t Buy’ stickers on Israeli products inevitably awake associations with the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t Buy from Jews!’ and similar scrawls on facades and shop windows.”
At the same time, however, anti-Semitism is sadly on the rise in Germany as well as elsewhere in Europe. Reported cases of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany increased by nearly 20 percent last year. Attacks against German Jews have come from both right wing and Islamist extremists living in Germany. The spread of Islamist anti-Semitism in Germany has become an increasing problem in recent years as Muslim immigrants from the terrorist-prone Middle East swarmed into Germany. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, for example, the annual al-Quds Day march in Berlin has become an occasion for participants to invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes linked to their gripes against the Jewish state of Israel and to call for the killing of Israelis. Last June, a witness testified during a murder trial that a Palestinian accused of killing a German man said he had done so because he thought his victim was a “rich Jew” whose people “destroyed my homeland.”
If the European Union Court of Justice follows its Advocate General’s recommendation, as expected, it will be seen as legitimizing anti-Semitism in Europe. The court will provide one more instrument of lawfare as a weapon of war for the Palestinians and their allies to use against Israeli Jews.
the article was published on Frontpage Mag

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Rabbi Menachem Margolin:

"The story of Chanukah teaches us that the Jewish people did not win the battle because they were the stronger, but because G-d saw that they were fighting for their beliefs with all their heart.

G-d created the world and everything in it. He also created the different conflicts in it.

Therefore what we should take from this fact is that if conflict or challenges are given to us in order to test us or to strengthen our resolve.

We are therefore wiser if we recognise that we should not run away from challemges but fight them and win, and in doing so we can look for more and more miracles like the one that happened at this time of Chanukah.

Dear Prime Minister, in our days, where we are experiencing a lot of racism, anti-Semitism and hatred we should not be frightened by these challenges either. Because if we will all fight it constantly, eventually our way will win.

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Words for Rosh HaShanah by Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi

The shofar has no reason.
But it contains a sign: Wake up! (Maimonides)
If you want a livable society there has to be legislation. Because without rules the theory of people living together in peace is not going to work. Ideally this would not have to be necessary, but our society is far from ideal. And so, we see that in every country, in every city and in every group in which people live together rules are made to make the society livable. Because if we wouldn’t...
But it is not as simple as that. Because laws made by people are subject to change and can lead to quite the opposite of livability. Over the years laws are adapted, changed. What is criminal and unacceptable in country A, is ridiculous and exaggerated in country B.
Some time ago we received a journalist from Moscow as a guest. We were debating during the shabbat meal and since he sounded pretty pro-Russian, I asked him how he feels about the oligarchs who because of their large financial strength more or less define the law. In my point of view rather corrupt. But it is accepted and these multimillionaires are treated with a chronic respect. I find that difficult to accept!
The journalist looked at me a bit sheepishly and instead of answering he asked a counter-question, which is a good Jewish custom. When I got off the train at the Central Station in Amsterdam, he began talking, I saw men selling drugs under the police’s condoning eyes. Drugs that can only come onto the market through exploitation and degrading trade. How can your Dutch people, was his question, accept this just like that?
The journalist was right: what is acceptable in society A, even instinctively, is corrupt in society B. And so, it is a good thing that societies make laws to create a livable climate, but there is also a risk attached to this man-made legislation. Because when man starts to determine what is right and what is wrong, we have a problem. Are extramarital relations acceptable? Years ago, that was not done, but nowadays in our so-called modern civilized society ... We stand up for women’s rights and rightly so! But we use these same women as inducement to focus attention to a certain product. And we accept the exploitation of imported women who have nowhere left to go, female slaves!
Judaism knows three kinds of laws: (1) Laws we obey to commemorate certain events. During the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) we live in a sukkah to commemorate the forty years in which our ancestors lived in sukkot after the Exodus from Egypt. (2) Laws that make sense, like the ban on stealing. This kind of legislation must exist to avoid chaos.
But Judaism has a third kind of law: Chukim (decrees). Laws that transcend rational reason. These laws are obeyed exclusively because God expects this from us.
“This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded” (Numbers 19:2). And then the text continues and presents the completely incomprehensible legislation of the red heifer. With the ashes of the red heifer the unclean is cleansed and the priest performing the ceremony becomes unclean because of the action!? It doesn’t make sense.
But apart from this inconceivable legislation: why does the text say “This is the law of the Torah?” It should have said “This is the law of the red heifer!” But because this incomprehensible law is called the law of the Torah, the Torah declares that reason cannot be the basis of any law. Every law, also the law we do understand, has to be obeyed because G’d desires that of us and not because we understand it. And then such a law is independent of the trend that dominates society at that particular moment. Because it may be that we find some laws rational and comprehensible, but with regard to standards and values there is no logic.
What was completely unacceptable yesterday is one hundred per cent normal tomorrow!
The Halacha is the collective body of Jewish religious laws which is full of logic, taking into account circumstances and situations, it is absolutely not black or white, and constantly moving. But at the same time, it is plain that man is too small to determine the law himself. Standards and values are fluctuating all the time. What was totally unacceptable fifty years ago, is normal today. And what we find normal today, our grandchildren will experience as primitive and incomprehensible.
But why looking at ancestors and grandchildren? My Russian journalist cannot comprehend the policy on drugs in our country and it is beyond my comprehension that in Russia oligarchs are hoisted up into the air, while we live in the same age.
And that is precisely the message of the shofar.
A message reaching far beyond legislation.
Maimonides teaches a vital lesson for life at the beginning of the New Year:

  1. There is no logical reason why we should sound the shofar on Rosh Hashana
  2. But there is a sign hidden in the shofar: wake up, repent.

Primarily we have to realize that life is incomprehensible, we need to accept!
And when we are thoroughly aware of that, only then we start to try and understand as much as possible!
With this thought we start the New Year.
A Shanah Tovah, a good and healthy 5780
Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi

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