EU court rules products from Israeli settlements must be labelled

The European Union’s top court has ruled that EU countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels.

The European Court of Justice said: “Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the state of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin.”

The Luxembourg-based court said the labelling of products from Israeli settlements must provide an “indication of that provenance” so consumers could make “informed choices” when they shopped.

The EU wants any produce made in the settlements to be easily identifiable to shoppers and insists they should not carry the generic “Made in Israel” tag.

The court said any failure to identify the point of origin of produce meant that “consumers have no way of knowing, in the absence of any information capable of enlightening them in that respect, that a foodstuff comes from a locality or a set of localities constituting a settlement established in one of those territories in breach of the rules of international humanitarian law”.

In Israel, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, the director of international law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, said the European court was “approving putting a new kind of yellow star on Jewish-made products”.

“This blatant discrimination makes it more urgent than ever for the Trump administration to defy Brussels by making official what has long been US practice, to allow these products to be labelled ‘Made in Israel’,” said Kontorovich.

It is not entirely clear how the ruling will be enforced. European retailers would normally be expected to add the labelling, but the real origin of the produce is not always easy to identify, experts say.

The case came to court after an Israeli winery based in a settlement near Jerusalem contested France’s application of a previous ECJ court ruling on the labelling. That ruling backed the use of origin-identifying tags but did not make them legally binding.

 

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