Conference of Presidents Decries Anti-Israel Ruling of EU's Highest Court

New York, NY

. . . Arthur Stark, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:

“Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down a deeply flawed ruling which determined that goods produced by Israelis in the West Bank may not be labeled as ‘Made in Israel.’ This is the highest court in the European Union; its decision is legally binding for all EU members and cannot be appealed.

We find this ruling to be profoundly repugnant, as it blatantly discriminates against Israeli products with a double standard that is not applied to other sovereign nations involved in territorial disputes. There are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes across the world, yet the Court has not rendered a single ruling related to the labeling of products originating in these areas. EU related bodies unfortunately have a record of unequal treatment of Israel on legal and other matters, and the singling out of Israeli products for labeling echoes some of the darkest periods in Jewish history. The Court’s decision inappropriately puts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is political in nature, into the judicial sphere.

In doing so the Court moves toward dictating a political end through judicial means, undermining any viable and lasting resolution to a conflict which can only be solved through political negotiations between the two sides.

Not only do these kinds of antagonistic measures needlessly increase discord between Israel and the EU, they have negative repercussions for the EU’s trade with the United States. The US is the EU’s largest trading partner and many US states have strong anti-boycott provisions that would be triggered by application of this ruling by EU members, disrupting the bilateral trade relationship. Accordingly, the Court’s decision has been recognized as highly problematic by members of both the House and Senate, drawing outspoken, bipartisan opposition.

This ruling only diminishes the chances of reaching peace and contradicts the positions of the EU on the conflict. It plays into the hands of the Palestinian Authority, which continues to refuse to engage in direct negotiations with Israel, and emboldens radical anti-Israel groups that advance and call for boycotts against Israel and deny its right to exist. Its implications will ripple around the world and inflame hatred of Israel. We hope that consumers will be wise enough to disregard it and continue to buy products from businesses that employ thousands of Palestinians every day.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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