The Czech lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, passed a resolution Thursday calling on the Czech government to refuse to comply with European directives requiring special labeling of Israeli products sold in the European Union that are produced beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders, the Czech News Agency reported.
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Robin Boehnisch, the member of the Chamber of Deputies who proposed the resolution, said he viewed the European Union labeling requirement as an effort to pressure Israel and not one that would benefit European consumers, the new agency said.
The guidelines, which were released last month, will apply to fresh fruit and vegetables, wine, honey, olive oil, eggs, poultry, organic products and cosmetics. They will not apply to packaged foods and industrial products.
The directive is purportedly an effort to distinguish between products produced within Israel's pre-Six-Day War borders, the borders recognized by the EU, and merchandise from the West Bank Jewish settlements, which are under Israeli administration but have not been annexed, or from the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed.
The labeling directive was also criticized by Czech parliament member Frantisek Laudat of the opposition TOP 09 party, whom the Czech news agency quoted as saying "it may evoke awkward reminiscence of marking the Jewish nation members during World War II." For his part, parliament member Zdenek Soukop noted that Israel is the only stronghold of democracy in the Middle East.
But Communist legislator Vojtech Filip cautioned against politicizing the issue and his party colleague Jiri Valenta said the labelling requirement furthers consumers' right to know the origin of merchandise they are purchasing. He also condemned drawing parallels with World War II as baseless, according to the Czech News Agency.