American Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro has said that the labeling of Israeli settlement products is not a boycott.Ambassador Shapiro was speaking Monday at the Israel Journalists Association conference in the southern city of Eilat. In remarks not part of his official speech, Shapiro was reported by the settler-affiliated new site Arutz 7 to have said that “Our position concerning settlements is clear and has not changed – we oppose them. Yet on the other hand, we oppose boycotts of any kind against Israel. We do not see the labeling of products as boycott – it is information provided to consumers and they can decide alone.”
Shapiro added that “as long as the settlements continue it will not be suprising if there are reactions such as labeling products”.
Shapiro’s remarks come on the same morning as those of Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who told the Israel Council on Foreign Relations that Hungary will not label products originating from Israeli settlements, characterising the EU decision in this matter as “irrational”.
Echoing Israeli hasbara, the Hungarian foreign minister claimed such labels would be detrimental to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The European Union announced last week guidelines concerning the labeling of products originating from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights. The guidelines, which the EU has described as “technical” and not political, elicited hysterical reactions from both government and almost all opposition parties in Israel.
About the EU guidelines, Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said ‘This is a welcome sign that European governments are reacting to public opinion, civil society campaigning and Israeli intransigence and are becoming more willing to take some basic action against Israeli violations of international law.
Yet putting some labels on a small number of Israeli products is hardly a proportionate response to repeated Israeli war crimes, especially given the widespread use of fraud by Israeli exporters to deceive customs officials and retail chains about the origin of their stolen goods.’
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