Some Americans may find modern day concerns about anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment overblown, especially if they haven’t experienced some centuries of religious discrimination.
Such concerns typically appear when Israel is in the news, as it is this week by denying entry to a pair of Muslim congresswomen. Ed wrote about that controversy here.
Now, comes the European Union with a clever idea to add consumer warning labels to products from Israel as being from that Jewish state. No, seriously.
Of course, this is not the first time Jews have been singled out for such public alerts.
In Germany and Eastern Europe in the 1930’s and ’40s the Nazis forced Jews to wear yellow stars of David on their outerwear as a public humiliation and isolating tactic to deter others from having any contact. Before that, the Russian tsar required Jews to wear animal skins as head coverings, an intended humiliation.
The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued an opinion that EU law requires Israeli-made products be labeled as originating from “Israeli colonies” or “settlements.”
As the Free Beacon reported:
The decision was seen as a major win for supporters of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel and its citizens.
Pro-Israel activists, as well as Jewish businesses involved in the legal dispute, see the decision as an ominous warning sign they say is reminiscent of Holocaust-era boycotts of Jewish businesses.
The Court’s 15-member panel is poised to issue its binding ruling. But that threatens to ignite U.S. anti-boycott measures intended to protect Israel from international discrimination.
And it could prompt additional discriminatory labeling requirements by the EU and other countries on goods from more disputed territories.
Brooke Goldstein, a human-rights lawyer, said, “Could the discrimination be any clearer?”
The ruling stipulates that items made by Muslims must be labeled as coming from ‘Palestine’ while products made by Jews must be labeled as coming from ‘Israeli colonies.”
Goldstein warned such a ruling would become a nightmare for European importers and an invitation for labeling requirements by innumerable others.
She added, “If the EU Court justifies this bigotry, it will degrade the rule of law in Europe and it will undoubtedly have many unintended consequences for EU traders.”