Kantor criticizes ‘discriminatory’ EU stand on Hezbollah, West Bank labeling

(JTA) — European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor told European Union leaders that moves to label goods from the West Bank without labeling Hezbollah a terrorist group is “discriminatory.”

In a letter sent to the leaders of EU member states, Kantor said the EU “appears to be singling out one disputed territory of the world for special treatment, whereas the European Union has no similar policies for the other tens of territories that are the subject of international disputes.”

He added that “the timing of the labeling issue is inauspicious as it is diverting energies that could be better placed supporting positive moves towards restarting direct negotiations between the [Israelis and Palestinians].” He said the “one-sided and biased” policy also could “increase ill faith and bad feeling between” them.

The policy also will disenfranchise “tens of thousands of Palestinians who work for these Israeli companies, who would suffer an enormous financial blow from the ramifications of this policy.”

Kantor wrote that the labeling of goods originating in the West Bank is made worse by the comparative lack of traction on the issue of adding Hezbollah to the EU list of terrorist organizations.

“While the European Union’s oft-stated goal is to achieve peace and security in the Middle East, these words will remain hollow if an organization with a proven and indisputable record of murder and terrorism in Europe and around the world, and whose goal is to destroy the Jewish State, is allowed to act freely, recruit and raise funds unimpeded on the European continent,” he wrote.

He said the proscription of Hezbollah would be the “greatest contribution” that the EU could give to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revitalize the peace process.