This seems to have caught the Israelis offguard, they pissed off as hell. Perhaps this is SA's response to the pressure US is putting on it by threatening sanctions if it does not stop importing Iranian oil by June.
Anyways its all very interesting.
Anyways its all very interesting.
Israel has attacked a legal move by South Africa that would force merchants to provide a special label for goods made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, slamming what it said was a decision with “racist characteristics”.
The harsh condemnation, issued by the Israeli foreign ministry, came in response to a “notice” from South Africa’s Department of Trade this month, saying it intends to require traders not to “incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. The proposal gives consumers 60 days to comment on the issue. Should it be confirmed, the Israelis say it would be the first regulation imposing a separate label of origin for settlement goods made in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“Singling out one country and stigmatising its products is a move with racist characteristics. We regret that it is South Africa of all countries that is the first to go down this slippery slope,” a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry said on Sunday. He argued the proposal – with its reference to “1948 borders” – left unclear what areas precisely would be affected by the new labelling rule, claiming that it would “stain all Israeli products”.
“This will stamp, name and shame Israeli products on an uncertain basis,” the spokesman said.
Macdonald Netshitenzhe, a senior official at South Africa’s trade and industry department, said the decision was not political, but was in line with South Africa’s trade and consumer laws. “Our consumer protection act, as well as our trade law, says you must not mislead the consumer. If it’s a wine of the Cape, you don’t say it’s a Bordeaux … that is the principle,” he said. “South Africa recognises Israel only to [the] extent of the 1948 borders ... The occupation of 1967 and thereafter, we don’t recognise that.”
The South African measure, if confirmed, would mark an important victory for the growing international campaign against settlement products. Pro-Palestinian activists in the US and Europe have long called for a boycott of goods and produce from West Bank settlements, in an attempt to raise both the economic and political price of the Israeli occupation. The campaign has also resonated in the West Bank itself, where the Palestinian Authority has sought to crack down on the sale of settlement goods.
The settlements, home to a fast-growing population of more than 500,000, are seen as a key obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as they take up an increasing share of the land on which the Palestinians hope to establish an independent state. They are also illegal under international law, which prohibits the establishment of settlements on occupied land.
South Africa is not among Israel’s most important trading partners, which means the economic impact of a new labelling regime is likely to be limited. A deeper concern for Israel is that the example set by Pretoria will inspire others to follow suit, especially in Europe. The latest warning on this front came from Denmark, where the foreign minister appealed for a new Israeli labelling regime in an interview on Friday.
Villy Søvndal told the Politiken newspaper: “This is a step that will clearly show consumers that these goods have been produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also the European governments, have said no to.”
Israel’s foreign ministry gave a cautious response to the Danish comments, pointing out that they appeared to reflect the minister’s personal opinion and not government policy