Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Elizabeth Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
The ZOA strongly urges the Biden administration to retain the current accurate and appropriate product labeling regulations, which allow Israeli products from Areas C and H2 in Judea/Samaria to continue to be labeled “product of Israel,” “made in Israel,” or “Israel.” Israel has been and continues to be the relevant authority over Areas C and H2 in Judea/Samaria for the past 54 years, and this will continue throughout the foreseeable future. These historic Jewish areas are home to over 500,000 Jewish Israeli citizens, comprising the vast majority of the population in the areas. It is thus necessary and proper to label products made in these areas as “products of Israel,” etc.
ZOA is moreover appalled that extremist hostile-to-Israel groups J Street, APN, Ameinu, Partners for Progressive Israel (PPI), T’ruah, and New Israel Fund (NIF) have maliciously and wrongly requested that the Biden administration should instead impose anti-Israel labeling regulations.
The current labeling regulations: (i) are reality-based reflections of the relevant authorities; (ii) are essential for curbing antisemitic discrimination and boycotts against over 500,000 Jewish Israeli citizens and Jewish products made in the historic Jewish homelands of Judea and Samaria; (iii) reflect Congressionally-mandated trade policy and law encouraging trade with Israel and opposing anti-Israel trade restrictions and boycotts; (iv) help American kosher consumers; (v) are practical and avoid confusion; (vi) end the previous malicious measures; and (vii) are in accordance with binding international law, to which the United States is a party, which guarantees Judea and Samaria for close Jewish settlement and reconstitution of the Jewish Homeland, Israel.
In addition, the current labeling regulations partially restore longstanding U.S. policy prior to 1995. Prior to 1995, U.S. Customs required products produced throughout Judea/Samaria (as well as in Gaza) to use labels such as “product of Israel,” “Israel,” and “made in Israel.” The labels “West Bank” and “Gaza” were unacceptable, as those areas were (and are) not recognized territories or political entities. It would be harmful and deleterious to re-impose these discriminatory, outdated labeling regulations imposed by the Obama Administration. Those regulations wrongly forbade the use of the labels “Israel” or “made in Israel” on products made anywhere in Judea/Samaria, unless excepted by statute or regulation. Incidentally, we understand that these regulations were rarely enforced. Those regulations facilitated anti-Jewish boycotts, discriminate against Jews living in the Jewish homeland; conflict with U.S. anti-boycott trade policy – including the TPA and TFTEA; cause U.S. labeling regulations to no longer reflect reality; require the use of labels that are deeply insulting to the Jewish people; and violate international law.
Moreover, we believe that the Biden regulations fall within the definition of “boycott of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel” under U.S. law, in that those regulations “are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel.” 19 USC § 4452(f)(1).
ZOA thus strongly urges the Biden administration to retain the appropriate current product labeling regulations.