EU Court Ruling on Labeling Affirms Vital Distinction Between Israel and the Occupied Territory

November 13, 2019

In response to the European Court of Justice’s ruling that EU countries must accurately label products that are made in the occupied territory as distinct from products that are made in Israel, J Street’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams issued the following statement:

“This ruling is an important affirmation of what is already clear under both international and Israeli law: There is an important distinction between the State of Israel and the occupied territory it controls over the Green Line.

Under bipartisan US policy prior to the Trump administration, it has long been understood that the Green Line is the key starting point for negotiation of Israel’s final borders and will form the basis for the outlines of a future Palestinian state, with mutually agreed land swaps. Efforts to blur or erase the Green Line therefore seriously undermine the prospects for reaching a two-state solution — the only way to secure Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.

That is precisely why the right-wing Israeli government and its supporters — including many members of the Trump Administration — are so insistent that there is no distinction between Israel and the territory it controls, and why they are so vehemently opposed to this ruling. In their determination to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state and permanently maintain the occupation, they now claim that to oppose or even recognize the existence of the occupation and Israeli settlements is to oppose Israel itself. Their arguments and efforts actually assist the efforts of the Global BDS Movement, who similarly oppose a two-state solution and argue that there is no difference between Israel and the occupied territory.

It’s dangerous and absurd to describe this ruling as in any way ‘anti-Israel’ or ‘anti-Semitic’, when it in fact seeks to maintain a factual and legal distinction that is vital to the country’s future and to the pursuit of peace.”