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German debate on labeling settlement products continues
By Wiltrud Roesch-Metzler
Pax Christi (Germany) -
Email message from

To the Jerusalem Post

concerning `German controversy over Israel boycott`, 3.6.2012


The Jerusalem Post cited me incorrectly from a private email, which I sent to Prof. Reinhard Schramm.

The Jerusalem Post cited me thus:

`I am not buying goods with the declaration of origin `Israel` because, under this designation, products could come from the settlements. Our action is against policies that do not designate settlement products.`

In my email to Prof. Schramm the correct text was as follows:

`The settlements violate international law, because they are being built on occupied land. We do not want to support these settlements and we want everybody to have the chance not to support these settlements.

This is why we advocate the obligatory identification of products originating from settlements in the way the UK already does.

Until then I will abstain from buying products which carry the declaration of origin `Israel`, because there might be products stemming from settlements amongst these.

Our initiative is directed at a policy, which does not identify settlement products as such.`

Best Regards

Wiltrud R�sch-Metzler
Pax Christi Vice President


Full text of the Pax Christi letter

`Occupation tastes bitter` initiative
Pax Christi, German section, demands unambiguous labeling of products from Israeli settlements
In light of the present misleading declaration, Middle East Commission recommends abstinence from buying

The Middle East Commission of Pax Christi Germany has started a nationwide initiative for the clear labeling of goods from illegal Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Color-printed fruit bags are calling consumers` attention to the fact that fruits and vegetables labeled as originating in Israel partly come from illegal settlements. The customers are asked to call for an unambiguous identification of these trading goods.
`Great Britain has introduced clear labeling a few years ago. Goods from illegal settlements are unambiguously declared`, says Dr. Manfred Budzinski, the Middle East Commission`s spokesperson. He goes on to stress that `we will no longer buy into the hidden acquiescence to the ongoing violation of international law by settlements. Given the present misleading declaration we recommend abstinence from buying.`
Pax Christi�s Middle East Commission invites consumers to make use of the public online consumer platform for demanding the clear labeling of settlement goods. It recommends consumers to temporarily - until a labeling obligation has been introduced - abstain from buying goods carrying the ambiguous origin declaration `Israel` since these could be settlement products.
In 2010, the European Court of Justice has judged that settlements are not part of the territory of the state of Israel. The German Government also declares unequivocally that it considers Israeli settlements to be violating international law and to strictly distinguish between the state territory of Israel and the occupied territories. Since 2005 already, Israeli companies are obliged to provide supplementary origin specifications for exports into the European Union in order to make it possible for European customs services to spot settlement goods and exclude them from preferential customs. The consumers, however, are still left in uncertainty.
In the framework of the `Occupation tastes bitter` initiative, consumers can clearly state that they are no longer `buying into ` the hidden acquiescence of the violation of international humanitarian law by settlements. The Middle East commission of Pax Christi Germany calls upon critical consumers to demand correction of the misleading labeling of goods from settlement in dialogue with retailers, trading chains, consumer service centers (Verbraucherzentralen) and the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).
Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are a key obstacle on the path to a just peace in the Middle East. Companies have the choice where to invest and produce. Up to now it is profitable for them to choose locations in the illegal settlements, even more so as they receive public benefits for investing and producing in settlements. For these companies, their involvement in a violation of international law has no practical consequences. This is where critical consumers can voice their concern and take their decision as customers in support of a just peace in Palestine and Israel.
The `Occupation tastes bitter` initiative is meant to strengthen respect for human rights and international law at the consumer level. A customer standing in a shop in front of undeclared goods that might come from illegal settlements has the choice to buy these goods or to abstain from buying them. For us, abstinence from buying settlement goods is a form of critical consumption: We are concerned about aligning individual buying decisions with human rights standards and international law governing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The `Occupation tastes bitter` initiative is supported beyond Pax Christi by Prof. Dr. Andreas Buro (German Commitee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow (Professor for Systematic Theology, University of Heidelberg), Iris Hefets (Concerned Jews and Israelis), Shir Hever (Economist, Alternative Information Center, Jerusalem), Matthias Jochheim (IPPNW Germany), Dr. Rupert Neudeck (`Gr�nhelme`, Founder of `Cap Anamur`), Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin (International League for Human Rights, German Section), Dr. Albrecht Schr�ter (Mayor in Jena) and Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger (Member of the Board of the Central Council of Jews in Germany from 2006-2009).

For further information and free ordering of materials please contact
pax christi
German Section
Hedwigskirchgasse 3
D-10117 Berlin

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