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State 'deeply concerned' over EU court ruling on labels for Israeli settlement products

State 'deeply concerned' over EU court ruling on labels for Israeli settlement products
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The State Department on Wednesday expressed concern Wednesday over a top European Union court decision mandating that products from Israeli settlements must be labelled as originating outside Israel.

State criticized the ruling as suggesting “anti-Israel” bias and arguing that it encourages movements such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

The European Union Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that consumer goods produced in Israeli settlements located outside the internationally recognized borders of the country could not be labelled as being made in Israel when sold in the 28-nation European Union.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the EU requirement," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“The circumstances surrounding the labeling requirement in the specific facts presented to the Court are suggestive of anti-Israel bias,” she added. “The United States unequivocally opposes any effort to engage in BDS, or to otherwise economically pressure, isolate, or otherwise delegitimize Israel.”

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Ortagus also said such efforts isolate Israel and run counter to efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.

“The path toward resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations. America stands with Israel against efforts to economically pressure, isolate, or delegitimize it.”

The EU court decision said that labels work to prevent misleading consumers as to the origin of the products they purchase.

Opponents of the product labeling say that it unfairly singles out Israel by delegitimizing settlements, sets a dangerous precedent of politicizing the consumer market and plays on anti-Semitism.

Supporters of product labeling argue it's necessary because they believe that Israeli settlements are located outside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders and in violation of international humanitarian law. 

In July, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution condemning BDS, which seeks to economically pressure Israel over its policies towards Palestinians.