EU orders consumer warning labels on goods produced in Israeli occupied lands

from RT

The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on labeling of products from Israeli-occupied Arab settlements. Brussels says the move is technical but Israel has called it discriminatory.

The European Commission “adopted this morning the Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” Reuters quoted an EU official as saying.

EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was called to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to be reprimanded over the decision, Haaretz reports.

“Whereas the upcoming labeling guidelines are presented by the EU as a purely ‘technical measure’ designed to protect European consumers, there is no doubt that the main purpose of the measure is to exert political pressure upon Israel,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said prior the EU decision.

“These measures are discriminatory in nature. It is intolerable that Israel is the only country that has been singled out by the EU for such a policy, despite the fact that there are over 200 disputed territories worldwide,” the statement added.

This move shouldn’t come as a surprise to Israel, US State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday before the ruling was published.

“Israel continues to expand settlement activity. It should not come as a surprise that some in the international community seek to limit commercial ties to the settlements. This underscores the urgent need for Israel to change its policies with regard to settlements,” he said, quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

[read more here]

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Harper Government Threatens BDS Supporters with Hate Crime Charges

from Common Dreams

The Canadian government is threatening to charge those participating in boycotts of Israel with a hate crime, CBC revealed on Monday.

The information came following an attempt by the news agency to obtain clarification on statements made by federal ministers about a “zero tolerance” approach to supporters of the international Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement protesting Israeli apartheid and occupation of Palestinian land.

In response to the query, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, who is in charge of federal law enforcement, sent reporters “a detailed list of Canada’s updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws ‘anywhere in the world.'”

“Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions,” CBC reports. “If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government’s lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The government under Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged “steadfast” support for Israel and last year amended the Criminal Code definition for hate speech to include “national origin” as well as race and religion. This, according to Micheal Vonn, an attorney with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, allows the government to use hate crime laws as “a tool to go after critics of Israel.”

[read more here]

BDS the Global Corporate Coup!

by Scott Creighton

Putting forward a simple idea: BDS the global corporate coup.

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In 2005, Palestinian civil society put out a call for a truly global movement of people opposed to Israel’s illegal and immoral treatment of Palestinian people living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It is called the BDS movement (boycott, divest and sanction) and though it has not yet ended the brutal and inhumane treatment, it’s influence is building across the globe with minor victories over the last few years and certainly a major victory for the Palestinian cause in the “hearts and minds” campaign targeting young, college-aged people all over the world.

Similar BDS-type movements have met with a great deal of success in the past most notably in apartheid South Africa.

The BDS movement is having a profound effect on Israeli businesses and therefore on Israeli policy. Fascist nations and their Vichy politicians are wholly owned subsidiaries of their Big Business backers. You haven’t got to look past our own borders here in the states to realize that simple truth about American “democracy” and our “friends in the region”.  And to that end, they are both equally vulnerable to the will of the wallet as long as it is well organized and just.

The effect is so great, Israel’s predominant lobbying effort here in the states, AIPAC, has put forward a rider ( U.S-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act ) for a corporatist “trade” bill, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which seeks to counter the crippling effects of the growing BDS movement.

“The U.S-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act will ensure that American free trade partners never engage in this harmful and illegitimate political protest against Israel, while also protecting U.S. companies from foreign lawsuits targeting their associations with Israel.” Feb. 2015

Clearly, powerful lobbying groups and think-tanks don’t take the time to write legislation to thwart a movement if they don’t perceive that movement as a serious problem and ultimately a threat to their established power structure. Therefore, BDS is working and AIPAC is telling us it is.

Today I would like to put forward another idea, one borrowing from the Palestinian BDS movement. Borrowing from it and hopefully adding to it.

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