Germany’s ruling party pans labeling guidelines

Marcy Oster

(JTA) – Germany’s ruling party, the Christian Democratic Union, spoke out against the European Union’s new labeling guidelines for Israel.

“This decision might not bring advantages in consumer protection,” Jürgen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag of the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel told JTA Thursday about new regulations published Wednesday by the European Commission. “In this case there foremost is a danger of a stigma. An anti-Israeli movement might exploit the decision and put it to use on anti-Israeli campaigns.”

The regulations adopted Wednesday require separate labelling for Israeli products sold in the European Union when they are either packaged or produced in the West Bank, east Jerusalem or the Golan. It also requires labels on such products specify whether they were produced by Israelis or Palestinians.

The E.U. mission to Israel claimed this was designed to afford clarity for consumers and not to serve as a political move, though Israel rejected this and complained it was discriminatory and designed to pressure it.


Hardt added that CDU “considers that stigmatization and boycott are not probate to facilitate the dialog between Israel and the Palestinians.” Labeling as such was an important consumer issue, Hardt added in an email to JTA, but “the implementation by the European Commission should in this case perhaps not have been so stringent,” he said.

“As a signal to our friends in Israel, I would have appreciated, if the European Commission in this case would abstained from the implementation of the European regulation,” Hardt added. He also said that since “Germany is a friend of Israel,” labeling will have little impact on trade.

The American Jewish Committee office in Berlin praised Hardt for his stance, which he also expressed in German media.

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