EJC President: EU states should prioritise Hezbollah ban rather than discriminatory labeling

In a letter sent to all leaders of European Union member states, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor has compared the EU’s moves to label goods from Israeli companies operating over the ‘Green Line’ with the long overdue proscription of Hezbollah.

“Firstly, this policy is seen as discriminatory as the European Union 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.”

“Moreover, 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 parties,” Kantor wrote. “I believe that the implementation of a policy which is seen as one-sided and biased at this time will only serve to negatively affect this positive momentum and increase ill-faith and bad feeling between the parties.”

The EJC also argues that this policy will also have a negative effect on the Palestinian population, many of whom work or are supported by these Israeli companies.

“This policy will also have the additional problematic effect of disenfranchising tens of thousands of Palestinians who work for these Israeli companies, earning pay far greater than in the Palestinian Authority, and their dependents, who would suffer an enormous financial blow from the ramifications of this policy,” Kantor said.

Dr. Kantor wrote in the letter that while the labeling of goods originating over the ‘Green Line’ was problematic, it is made worse by the comparative lack of traction on the issue of adding Hezbollah to the EU list of terrorist organizations.

“The greatest concern to us as European citizens is that while there is a consensus and movement on the labeling issue, there appears to be little movement on the goal of proscribing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization within the European Union,” Kantor wrote in the letter to the European leaders. “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 undisputable 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.”

“I would urge you to prioritize the proscription of an organization whose aim is to derail security and stability in the region and beyond, and whose ongoing role will ensure that peace will not be achieved in the Middle East. This is the greatest contribution the European Union can make to US Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts, and the efforts of those who wish to see a restart of negotiations which will lead to a resolution of the protracted conflict.”

In the letter, Dr. Kantor also applauded EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, who has put her full support behind the diplomatic efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in moves toi regenerate the peace process.

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