What are some examples of Israeli etiquette
Nothing », the Federal Ministry of Agriculture informs the Jüdische Allgemeine, nothing will change as a result of the EU regulation on the labeling of goods from the territories occupied by Israel.
Even the talk of a new regulation is wrong. "The designation of origin currently being discussed in the media is not a new regulation of the EU Commission," says the ministry led by Christian Schmidt (CSU). "With the publication of the› Interpretation Note ‹, the EU Commission merely complied with the request of individual EU states for examples of the precise implementation of applicable EU law on labeling of origin."
In future, according to the regulation, fruit and vegetables that come from the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem or the West Bank are to be sold in EU countries with the designation of origin “Palestine” or “Occupied Palestinian Territories”.
Star of David In Israel, Yoav Levy prefers a different definition: the winemaker from the Golan sticks a symbolized flag on the cap of his bottles: blue and white with a Star of David. Levy doesn't care about EU directives. «I want people to see immediately where my wines are made. I'm proud of it."
Other Jewish wine producers don't see it that way. They don't want to see their name in the papers. “However unfair we may find it, we cannot do anything about this labeling at the moment,” explains a winemaker from the West Bank. "We hope that people in Europe don't read what's on the sticker."
The amazing thing is that the EU Commission is also trying to downplay the importance of the regulation. A spokeswoman said that the labeling requirement was “part of EU consumer policy”. What is currently being referred to as the new EU regulation is only intended to “clarify certain factors and more effectively implement existing laws”. In addition, the following applies: "However, the implementation of the regulations is the sole responsibility of the authorities of the member states."
In Germany, this is not the Ministry of Justice, which is actually responsible for consumer protection, but the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. There they are assured that under no circumstances does Berlin want a measure in the direction of a boycott of Israel. It's all about the right labeling. "In this respect, market access is not denied, but enabled with correct labeling."
But who is responsible for monitoring the labeling remains open: the ministry refers to the Federal Institute for Food Safety and Nutrition in Bonn. On the other hand, it says that the control is incumbent on the individual federal states. "The Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food at the federal level therefore does not impose any fines." Nobody seems responsible.
Nevertheless, as a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is quoted in newspapers, there has been clarity in Germany for a long time, "because consumers have always attached great importance to the fact that the products say where they come from".
hungary You don't see it in the EU member state Hungary as relaxed and incompetent as it is portrayed by the federal government. Its foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, declared in Jerusalem that his government did not intend to adhere to the EU regulation. The labeling requirement is "irrational".
The American government, on the other hand, announced through a spokesman that it did not believe "that it is a boycott if the origin of a product is named". However, the regulations in the USA are different: There it must be stated that the product comes from the West Bank - it does not tell whether it was manufactured in an Israeli settlement or by a Palestinian company.
What the EU is doing to Israeli exporters with its “clarification” that has now been resolved and published is, at best, uncertainty. The moshav movement of agricultural communities warns that labeling could quickly ban all Israeli products. "Because the Europeans will not differentiate between goods from the settlements and goods from the rest of the country," says Secretary General Meir Zur. This means that the regulation could affect all farms in Israel that work for export, not just fruit and vegetable growers.
The German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the other hand, does not expect any major effects on economic relations. "The export from the settlements represents only a fraction of the Israeli export volume to Germany," says the Chamber's vice-president, Hildegard Müller. Müller reassuringly points out that “there are currently no binding implementation regulations for Germany”.
settlers On the Israeli side it is confirmed that only one percent of the Israeli export volume to the EU is at stake. Nevertheless, the latest figures published by the Yesha Council of Settlers in the West Bank show that there has been a significant increase in Israeli companies in Palestinian territory over the past four years: from 680 to 890 companies employing 24,000 people there. More than half, namely 15,300, are Palestinians.
For this reason, too, Meir Zur of the moshav movement wrote in a letter to the government that he expected the politicians to “take action to stop this”.
The Jerusalem government is less concerned about the economic and more about the political damage caused by the EU regulation. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that even if the claim that the West Bank was occupied by Israel was accepted, it was surprising that the EU did not act in a similar way with Turkey and Cyprus or China and Tibet. "In its hypocrisy, the EU is not demanding anything comparable there, but it is demanding from Israel."
Fruits and vegetables The EU labeling requirement mainly applies to fruits, vegetables and cosmetics. In general, there is no general obligation under "food labeling law" to identify the origin of products. The EU points out, however, that “Made in Israel” could mean deceiving consumers. In the case of cosmetics, it is even mandatory to indicate the country of origin.
There is no longer any mention of wine in the EU. At the same time, the wineries that produce excellent wines on the Golan, with which Israel has also won the highest prices at international trade fairs, are particularly unsettled. Israel is not a wine-drinking country, its good wines are mainly exported.
Yoav Schwartz owns one of the few wine shops in Israel. From his shop in Bnei Brak, he quickly removed all European wines from the range and replaced them with those from the West Bank. «I took all bottles from Spain, Italy and France off the shelves and put them in my warehouse for the time being. It's not easy for me because I sell wines from 40 to more than 100 euros. " With the action he wants to send a signal against the EU, as he is of the opinion that the labeling prevents people from “trying high-quality products from Judea and Samaria”.
Schwartz also points out that the “real victims” of the regulation are the Palestinian workers who work in companies across the green border. "When businesses lose, they lose first."
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