(JTA) — Following a European Parliament resolution backing the labeling of West Bank products, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested it was reminiscent of European anti-Semitic actions to exclude Jews.
“This is unjust. It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace,” Netanyahu said Thursday of the non-binding resolution, which the European Parliament passed on Thursday and which calls on the European Union to issue labels for products imported to Europe from areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
“We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products,” Netanyahu said.
Prior to the Holocaust, Jewish stores and products were marked across Western Europe.
The European resolution issued Thursday, which would distinguish between products from Israel and from the occupied territories, sparked an angry response the same day from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which said labeling goods was “discriminatory” and “reeks of boycott,” the Times of Israel reported.
“Under the guise of a technical procedure, it’s an attempt to force a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Times of Israel. “Europe treats Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy, while it doesn’t raise the issue of similar solutions in Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara.”
The motion to identify settlement goods, which would include products from eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as well as from settlements in the West Bank, was approved by 424 out of 525 members.
The European Parliament motion also encouraged the EU to step up its role in promoting a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, and emphasized that “only non-violent means and respect for human rights and humanitarian law can achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
In addition, the motion called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and said that reconstructing and rehabilitating Gaza, which was heavily damaged in the summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, “must be a humanitarian aid priority for the EU and the international community.”