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Why it’s correct to label the Obama administration ‘anti-Israel’

By Jennifer Rubin


If this president’s frosty relationship with Israel’s elected government, disregard of its interests with regard to Iran, public excoriation over building plans in its capital Jerusalem, condemnation of its defense in the Gaza war (which inevitably harmed civilians used as terrorist shields) and high-pressure tactics in the moribund “peace process” were not enough to convince you that this administration is the most anti-Israel in history, consider its actions this week.

Starting out the week, Associated Press reported: “The European Union said Monday that all its deals with Israel must ‘unequivocally and explicitly’ show that they cannot apply to occupied territories, a move that builds on a November decision to label Israeli products made in the West Bank. Palestinians welcomed the stance, while Israel accused the EU of discrimination. Monday’s meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers stressed that it ‘does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the EU strongly opposes.’ ” Now the Obama administration is on record agreeing with this sophistry. (Dripping with sarcasm, Israel analyst Omri Ceren tweeted, “Just as marker for record, today was when most pro-Israel admin[istration] ever came out in support of slapping labels on Jewish goods from West Bank.”)

At the State Department, spokesman John Kirby asserted on Tuesday:

MR KIRBY: Well, as you know, our longstanding position on settlements is clear. We view Israeli settlement activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. We remain deeply concerned about Israel’s current policy on settlements, including construction, planning, and retroactive legalizations. The U.S. Government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements, because administrations from both parties have long recognized that settlement activity beyond the 1967 lines and efforts to change the facts on the ground undermine prospects for a two-state solution. We are no different.

QUESTION: And does that mean – so that means that you have no issue with this EU decision? You support it?

MR KIRBY: Well, you’re talking about this – the specific reaction to —

QUESTION: Correct. Yeah.

MR KIRBY: Yeah. Although I would refer you to the EU for an official response to their policies, they’ve made clear that this is not a boycott in any way and that the EU also made clear that they oppose boycotts against Israel.


MR KIRBY: We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel. We also do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott.

QUESTION: Okay. But in terms of the issue with the agreements and omitting from them the West Bank and Gaza, you also – you think that that – you think that’s okay? In other words, you agree with the EU that this does not indicate a boycott or isn’t a boycott or won’t —

MR KIRBY: That’s right. And we —

QUESTION: — lead to a – okay.

MR KIRBY: And our position on boycotts have not changed.

This is disingenuous at best. As Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute observed: “This is completely consistent with all the administration’s other policies hostile to Israel. Labeling goods made by Israeli businesses in disputed territories but not goods made in other disputed territories like Kashmir, for example, is an example of blatant anti-Semitism.” She continued, “And while the administration would surely argue that forcing Jews to wear yellow stars is not a sign of discrimination but merely a diktat about clothing, it should be clear to Jews everywhere that the 1930s are returning.” (Let’s not forget that Secretary of State John Kerry has previously hinted that the U.S. would not be able to protect Israel from boycotts if it did not make more concessions to the Palestinians.)

When the E.U. acted late last year, Congress was not mute. reported: “Citing a concern that the European Union’s proposed guidelines to label goods produced by Israeli companies operating in the West Bank could ‘promote a de-facto boycott of Israel,’ senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D – N.Y.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday released an open letter, which was signed by 36 senators and addressed to the EU’s top diplomat, urging the European body to reconsider the discriminatory policy.” In the House, a bipartisan group introduced a resolution to condemn the E.U.’s action. (“New European Commission guidelines to single


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