Europe's largest department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, has removed Israeli products from the shelves following the European Union's decision to label Israeli products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel published on Friday, the store's spokewoman, Petra Fladenhofer said: "Only after fixing the labels, we'll return the products to our shelves." She did not elaborate on what kinds of products were pulled.
In contrast, another large department store, Galeria Kauphof, did not pull Israeli products from its shelves. A spokesperson for the company - which has several braches around Berlin, including one in Alexanderplatz – told Der Spiegel that the store's "sales policy" is not influenced by politics or religion, and that it was not responsible for labeling products. The store sells Israeli products made in the West Bank and the Golan Heights such as SodaStream, Ahava consmetics and more.
The old, lavish KaDeWe department store is located in west Berlin, and was opened in 1907. It occupies 60,000 square meters and eight floors, and houses 2,000 stores selling hundreds of thousands of products.
In 1926, the store was sold to a Jewish-owned company, Herman Tietz. The company renovated and expanded the store, but in 1933, after the Nazis rose to power, it was forced to sell the store to German owners.
The current owner of KaDeWe is a privately-held Thai firm named Central Group.
Earlier this month, the European Commission adopted the Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
The guidelines state that the EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty beyond the June 1967 borders, regardless of the status of those territories according to Israeli law, and that it is interested that EU legislation and regulations reflect this position.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the decision, saying it was hypocritical, constitutes a double standard, "and focuses only on Israel and not the 200 other conflicts around the world."
According to Netanyahu, "the EU decided to mark only [goods made by] Israel, and we are unwilling to accept the fact that EU labels the side being attacked by terror."
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