Two generations removed from the Holocaust, a rising specter of anti-Semitism is once again haunting Europe.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) just issued a ruling discriminating against Jewish businesses in Israel. The case was brought by Psâgot Winery, a historic vineyard, and maker of Israeli wine. The decision, however, has implications far beyond the vine.
The court declared that EU law requires that derogatory labels be placed on products made by Jews in disputed Israeli territories. In fact, per the CJEU, any consumer’s “ethical considerations” — whether political, social, economic, or environmental — also necessitate labeling. Europe has opened up a Pandora’s Box of politicized product labeling and unleashed unintended consequences that could wreak havoc on international trade.
Back in 2015, a small group of European Foreign Ministers proposed that imported products made by Israelis in the West Bank, Golan Heights, or East Jerusalem require distinct labels to indicate they were produced in Israeli “colonies” or “settlements.” Under the guise of consumer protection, they proposed that Psâgot, which is located on a site where Jews have been growing grapes and making wine for thousands of years, stamp a humiliating and historically inaccurate disclaimer onto every bottle. The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank, helped Psâgot challenge this discriminatory policy.