Palestine Is Not Israel (Labelling West Bank Products)

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You can read about it here. Recent moves to boycott or sanction Israel by FIFA, Orange (the French Telecom), and ongoing and current talk about  labelling West Bank products have nothing to do with Movement-BDS and its program to dismantle Israel as a Jewish majority country. These moves are going to force ordinary Israelis to start drawing a firm line between the sovereign State of Israel and the Occupied West Bank. This has nothing to do with animus, nothing to do with self-righteous political posturing, nothing to do with the right of return for Palestinian refugees. It’s strictly business, in relation to internationally recognized borders. According to international law, the West Bank is not Israel.

Labelling West Bank produce and products is not even anti-Israel if Palestine is not Israel. That means that legally, produce and products from the West Bank are not “Israeli goods.” This quote from the article clarifies what is a basic point of fact: Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs already states on its website that it “considers that traders would be misleading consumers, and would therefore almost be certainly committing an offence, if they were to declare produce from the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] (including from the West Bank) as ‘Produce of Israel’.”

The politics will begin to clarify as the Palestinian Authority works its way towards recognition at the United Nations and other international bodies. Setting emotion to the side, the logic becomes pretty clear. Palestine is not Israel. Israel is not Palestine, not according to international law. If, as many worried critics in Israel fear, that labelling West Bank products is a slippery slope towards a complete shunning and de-legitimization of Israel by the international community, then people have to reassess the long term danger posed to the State of Israel, not by anti-Semitism, but by West Bank settlements.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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