The European Parliament voted by a large majority to start labeling goods that come from “occupied territories” under Israeli control. After 350,000 dead in Syria, the collapse of Iraq, the disintegration of Libya, a wave of refugees that threatens to drown Europe and a bad deal with Iran, at last the European Union has found who is really to blame: A bottle of “Yarden” Chardonnay from a Golan Heights winery.
This decision is not only immoral but also astonishingly amateur. The Golan Heights is an area in the north of the State of Israel that has no part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, there isn’t even a single Palestinian living there. It is a small strip of land that fell under the category of “occupied territory” after it was conquered from Syria during the 1967 war.
Now let’s imagine that we Israelis are so frightened by the boycott (and we’re not) that we decide to return the Golan Heights. Who exactly are we supposed to return it to? There are actually a few options:
The first option is Jabhat al-Nusra, the local wing of Al-Qaeda on our border. Another option is ISIS which is fighting for control of the area. A third option is Hezbollah which is on the Lebanese part of the border, and a fourth option is the murderous regime of President Assad himself. We can assume that the first thing Assad will do is enlist into his forces all the Druze men who are currently living as free and equal people in the Golan Heights. The women and children will join the millions of refugees who have already fled his regime.
Before you decide, note who isn’t an option: The Palestinian Authority. That’s because the Palestinian Authority was never in the Golan Heights and even if the world asked them to be, they would have no interest in being there.
So why are products from the Golan Heights included in the European boycott? (And let’s not obfuscate here, this isn’t labeling, it is a boycott.)
It’s because the enthusiasm to harm Israel is so great – and the motives so sinister – that no one even bothered to check the details buried in some basement in the European Union. They were told it was about Israel and they felt the righteous fervor which leads them to attack the only democracy in the Middle East, and in a totally unconnected place.
This time it wasn’t the concept behind labeling which revealed the true motives, but the reckless manner in which it was decided. The fact that the European Union has accidentally boycotted thousands of Israeli citizens who are in no way related to the issue is further proof that this has nothing to do with advancing peace. This is a capitulation by the European Union to Islamists and radicals who demand the State of Israel be attacked in any way possible, whether effective or not.
The writer, a former finance minister, is leader of the Yesh Atid party.