New York, NY, November 28, 2016.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned new regulations by France mandating that all Israeli products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights be labeled as originating in these areas and – in parenthesis – “(from an Israeli settlement,)” and not as products of Israel. The announcement by France relates to European Commission Guidelines issued in November 2015, which called for products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights to be given unique labels.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:
France’s decision to label Israeli settlement products will serve to embolden campaigns to delegitimize and isolate Israel, which risk further undermining good faith efforts to negotiate a two-state solution to the conflict.
As we said following the European Commission decision, regardless of their intention, these types of actions send an unconstructive political message that the onus for the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict is on Israel alone, and that settlement construction is the central obstacle to resuming a political process. All of this is wrong and such steps risk spurring the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is deeply hostile to the Jewish state and clearly opposes the two-state solution.
Despite the fact that French officials have denounced BDS and French legislation makes such boycotts illegal, this move is particularly unhelpful given the hands-on role French officials have sought to play in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. If anything, this new regulation will be perceived by Israel as part of the single-minded campaign to pressure Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians. Israelis, therefore, will inevitably question France’s evenhandedness and intentions.
Such efforts only strengthen Palestinian incentives to appeal to international intervention outside of the context of direct negotiations with Israel. The international community should urge the Palestinian leadership to return to direct negotiations with their Israeli counterparts without preconditions. Direct, bilateral negotiations between the two parties remains the best path to peace.