An den Bundesaußenminister
Herrn Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier
May 2, 2015
On April 16, 2015, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of sixteen EU Member States sent a letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini asking her to push forward the process of properly labelling goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory that are sold across the European Union.
To our great disappointment you were not one of the signatories. According to reports in the Israeli media Germany has dissented from the initiative, in great part for historical reasons. Apparently Germany opposes the proper labelling of products originating in Israeli settlements and would be the last country in Europe to implement such a process.
After all labelling products correctly is nothing more than the mere application of existing EU legislation which aims at enabling EU consumers to be aware of what they are buying. Currently there is considerable uncertainty about many products that carry the label 'made in Israel'. EU consumers have the right to know whether a product originates from the internationally recognized Israeli territory within its pre-1967 borders, or whether they stem from its illegal colonies. EU legislation has placed the Member States under the obligation to indicate the correct geographical origin of agricultural products and food-stuffs for many years. It is high time that Member States begin to apply this legislation.
In the same vein Germany should follow the example of other Member States and issue a so-called "business warning" official information to enterprises under its national competence, which address the legal and political consequences of doing business with Israeli entities in the occupied territories. This is to ensure that EU enterprises fully comply with EU legislation and policies.
We urge you to continue the principled behaviour of the German government which joined 14 other members of the Security Council in February 2011 to vote for the resolution condemning Israeli settlements, and which then joined Great Britain and France in publicly supporting their vote.
We are writing to you as Jews who believe in equal human rights for all. We are dedicated to a just peace in the Middle East. We strive to end Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and thereby enable Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination. We belong to European Jews for a Just Peace, the federation of 12 like-minded groups in ten countries.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Vorsitzende der Jüdischen Stimme
Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost
c/o Liga für Menschenrechte | Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte