A recent decision by the minister for trade and industry in South Africa to remove “Made in Israel” tags on products that are actually made in the West Bank settlements may be also adopted in Denmark. Despite condemnation of the South African decision by the Israeli Foreign Ministry who ironically labeled the Pretoria decision as an “essentially racist decision” Denmark has also indicated that it is to follow suit.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry was said to be seeking clarification both here and in South Africa with regards to the decision with some calls to downgrade South Africa’s diplomatic status. However other sides including the head of the Meretz party Zahava Galon has suggested that the South African decision reflects world opinion and proved that the rest of the world does distinguish “between Israel, the Occupied Territories and the settlements” adding that it is only the Israeli government that does not make this distinction.
Writing in a South African government notice last week, Minister Rob Davies said he would “require traders in SA not to incorrectly label products that originate from Occupied Palestinian Territory as products of Israel” adding, “Consumers in SA should not be misled into believing products originating from occupied territories are products originating from Israel. The burden of proving where the products originate will lie with the traders.”
It now seems that Denmark is likely soon to follow South Africa’s lead in legislation requiring separate labeling for products from the West Bank. Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal was quoted in the newspaper Politiken as saying that such a step would “clearly show consumers that the products are produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also European governments, do not approve of.”
South Africa recognizes the State of Israel only within the borders demarcated by the UN in 1948.
The decision triggers question about the products of the settlements sales in Denmark it is labeled made in Palestine, at a time they are not produced by Palestinians and the Palestinian economy does not benefit from them.