France Should Be Ashamed of Labeling Products Made by Jews

Paris has now announced that it will begin implementing the European Union’s 2015 regulations requiring that goods produced by Jewish businesses in the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem be labeled as such. It is the first European government to do so. Michael Oren comments:

Though intended to punish Israel, France’s labeling decision seriously harms the many thousands of Palestinian and Golan Druze who work in Israeli companies. The move also rewards the Palestinian Authority for refusing to negotiate directly with Israel for almost eight years and for seeking unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state without giving Israel peace. . . .

For Israelis, as well as many Jews worldwide, France’s labeling decision cannot be viewed in isolation from French history. From the Dreyfus trial at the end of the 19th century, to Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws 50 years later, France has much to atone for in its relations with Jews. . . . Does the France that once mandated the registration of Jewish businesses and made Jews wear the yellow star now intend to mark Jewish-made goods?

As a sovereign state, France of course has the right to express its opposition to another state’s policies. But as an ally of Israel that wishes to advance, rather than impede, the peace process, and to disassociate itself from former atrocities, France must find other means than labeling Israeli products. Such actions may appeal to a sense of self-righteousness or satisfy certain parts of public opinion, but they will only prevent France from playing any serious role in Israel-Palestinian diplomacy. . . .

Israelis should not boycott French products, but we should certainly think twice before buying them. Or perhaps we should just label them with a sticker stating: “Made in a country that singles out Jewish goods”?

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Alfred Dreyfus, BDS, Europe and Israel, France, Israel & Zionism, Settlements, Vichy France

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia