Saturday, November 14, 2015
US State Department: "And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel."
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Thursday it doesn't consider a new European Union rule outlawing "Made in Israel" tags on goods from the West Bank as a boycott of the Jewish state, only a technical guideline for consumers.
The long-awaited EU rule has triggered a fierce backlash from the Israeli government.
The U.S. clarified its position a day after the decision by the EU, which applies to goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the 28-nation bloc as "hypocritical" and accused the EU of double standards. One of his Cabinet members called the rule "disguised anti-Semitism." Even Israeli opposition figures chimed in with criticism.
"We do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel."