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Czech Parliament Overwhelmingly Votes Against EU Labeling Guidelines For Israel

The parliament of the Czech Republic has voted for a resolution asking the government not to implement the European Union’s guidelines for labeling goods that come from territories captured by Israel in 1967. The resolution passed by an overwhelming majority, with all parties except for the Communists supporting it.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman told [1] Czech media that it was “absolutely necessary to reject the efforts to discriminate against the only democracy in the Middle East.”  Another Czech politician, Frantisek Laudat, argued that the guidelines “may evoke awkward reminiscence of marking Jewish people during World War II.”

The Czech Republic joins Greece [2] and Hungary [3] in rejecting the discriminatory labeling guidelines.

Northwestern University legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich argued [4] that the European Union’s legal argument that Western Sahara is not occupied by Morocco because it was “orphaned” territory supports Israel’s claim that the West Bank is not “occupied” under the EU’s definition, because it had a similarly uncertain sovereign status before Israel captured it in 1967.

Kontorovich and Avi Bell pointed out in a paper [5] (.pdf) published in October that, while there are approximately 200 territorial disputes worldwide, “the EU has never unilaterally adopted a regulation requiring geographic labelling contrary to the exporting country’s certificate of origination,” except in the case of Israel. The EU new guidelines, they argued, therefore amount to “unlawful trade barriers.”

[Photo: Hynek Moravek / Wikimedia ]