ANTI-SEMITIC DÉJÀ VU
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
On November 11, 2015, the EU (European Union) published an “Interpretive Notice” to clarify elements regarding the labeling of exports—from Israel. Under the guise of the consumer’s right to be informed about product origin, here’s what the EU mandated:
- Israeli products originating from Israeli cities and towns in areas outside of Israel’s 1967 borders must be labeled according to new EU regulations.
- Israeli products originating in Judea/Samaria (West Bank), East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights must be labeled accordingly.
- Israeli products from Judea/Samaria require a label stating, “Product of West Bank (Israeli settlement)”. A similar product from a “Palestinian” town read’s “Product of West Bank (Palestinian Product).”
NOT WITHOUT PRECEDENT
Was the EU’s Interpretive Notice timed to fuel international Boycott, Sanction and Divestment (BDS) of Israel? With the EU as Israel’s top trading partner, the move was characterized by some as a stinging rebuke. More astute observers were quick to recognize that the move is historically not without precedent.
On January 30, 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as the new Chancellor of Germany. On March 28, the Reichstag (German Parliament) passed the Enabling Act granting Hitler unilateral dictatorial power to make laws, control budgets and approve treaties with foreign governments.
A week later on April 1, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses. Yellow stars were smeared on the windows of Jewish establishments while SA storm troopers (Sturmabteilung, aka Brownshirts) stood outside with signs warning shoppers to patronize “German” businesses.
As seemingly unimpressive as the fallout of the boycott appeared, it was the beginning of a ghoulish nightmare for Jewish people living not just in Germany, but across Europe.
Over the next 12 years, more than 400 laws specifically targeting the Jewish community systematically stripped the Jewish people of their civil rights. In the aftermath, six million Jewish lives perished in the barbarism of Hitler’s sadistic “final solution.”
ANTI-SEMITIC DÉJÀ VU
Like the impact of Germany’s one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, the EU’s stipulated regulations for labeling of Israeli products will affect, “less than 1 percent of Israel’s $13 billion in annual exports to the bloc’s 28 countries.” (1)
Like the 1933 German boycott of Jewish businesses, the EU labeling regulations target a specific country—the state of Israel. Although the impact of the labeling regulations may not be immediately evident, the measure promotes the international regulation of Israeli enterprise that affects all Israeli citizens.
Israeli’s—who have lived in Judea/Samaria and East Jerusalem long before the 1967 armistice lines were established—own farms and factories that often employ both Israelis and “Palestinian” Arabs in equal numbers. Any measure negatively impacting productivity in these areas has an equal impact on the quality of life of “Palestinian” Arabs who depend on their jobs to survive.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., stated,
“The EU decision to label Israeli products is anti-Semitic. There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world, but the E.U. decided to single out Israel. They are not labeling products from China, India or Turkey — only Israel.” (2)
Many in Congress publicly opposed the new regulations. In a bipartisan effort led by Ted Cruz (R-Tex) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), 36 U.S. senators signed a letter stating that the labeling,
“appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products [and] promote[s] a de facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East. We are also deeply concerned that enacting this policy would lead to the broader boycott of Israel.” (3)
The new regulations were optional with member countries responsible for implementation. Three EU bloc countries (England, Belgium and Denmark) began labeling products originating in the “West Bank” and Gaza. As of November 11, 2015, all European bloc countries are required to follow EU labeling guidelines. (4)
On January 28, 2016, the U.S. State Department issued a memo that products originating in the “West Bank” and Gaza must be labeled as such and should not include the name Israel anywhere in the labeling.
Labeling of Israeli products is a thinly veiled mask for aggressive BDS of Israel that must be recognized as the same pattern that Hitler used—the selective labeling of Israeli products is anti-Semitic déjà vu.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
People of faith who understand God’s plan and purpose often wonder what they can do. It’s simple; become an advocate for Israel!
- Be informed so that you can speak truth about Israel to those in your sphere of influence. Politely and patiently stop misinformation from being disseminated unopposed.
- Be adventurous! Put actions behind your words—buy Israeli goods! Check the ethnic foods section, the deli and produce departments. Israeli canned goods, convenience foods and produce can often be found in Asian markets, big box membership clubs and small stores in Jewish neighborhoods.
- Ask local businesses to carry Israeli products if unavailable in your area. Every time you shop, tell employees and the manager you patronize the store because they support Israel.
- Thank the manager when you see Israeli products in local grocery stores. Let people know how much you love Israeli products.
- Host a “Taste Israel” event to showcase Israeli food products. This is a fun way to encourage your Sunday school class or Bible study group to buy Israeli imports.
Occasionally, someone will tell me they don’t know much and care even less about Israel; they want to be left alone to live a carefree life. May I strongly suggest that you are responsible for your attitude toward the nation of Israel. God’s words to Abraham found in the twelfth chapter of Genesis speak across the millennia with the same power as when originally uttered.
Actions matter. Each person’s conduct toward Israel and the Jewish people has both broad and personal implications. It’s a simple choice. Intentionally choosing to benefit Israel in a practical way invites the corresponding blessing God promised.
(1) Roduren, Jodi and Channov, Sewell, 2015, “E.U. Move to Label Israeli Settlement Goods Strain Ties.” New York Times, November 11.
(2) Lowenthall-Marcus, Lori, 2015, “EU Plans to Label Israeli Products Mere Figleaf for Boycott.” Jerusalem Post, November 10.
(3) Booth, William, 2015, “Israel denounces E.U. label rules for products made in settlements.” Washington Post, November 11.
4) Emmott, Robin and Baker, Luke, “EU moves ahead with labeling goods made in Israeli settlements.” Reuters, November 11, 2015.
1) Nighttime view of Israel from space. By NASA Earth Observatory [PD-Hubble], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Picking oranges, Kibbutz Gan Shmuel (Hebrew: גַּן שְׁמוּאֵל, lit. Shmuel’s Garden). ארכיון גן-שמואל [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) Agriculture in Israel. By ארכיון רמת הכובש [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.