The Czech Parliament has joined other nations in rejecting the European Union’s decision to remove “Made in Israel” labels from products originating in Judea Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
The Czech Republic’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling on the Czech government to ignore the recent European Union (EU) guidelines which require that products made in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights be specially labeled, singling them out for boycotts.
In its resolution, the Chamber of Deputies said the guidelines were “motivated by a political positioning versus the State of Israel.”
The vote reflected a long and strong trade and diplomatic relationship between Israel and the Czech Republic, particularly since its emergence from communist rule in 1989.
The Czech parliamentary resolution was supported by all government and opposition parties except for the Communists.
Culture Minister Daniel Hermann but thanked the lower house for the vote, but did not say whether the government would endorse it and ignore the EU guidelines. “It is necessary to reject these attempts that try to discriminate against the only democracy in the Middle East,” he said.
The Foreign Ministry in Prague said in a statement that the Czech Republic respected its EU commitments but that it considered Israel as a strategic partner and was keen on developing economic relations with the country.
Tomas Kraus, secretary of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic (FZO), welcomed the vote. He said that although anti-Semitism on the personal level was very low in most parts of Europe, especially the Czech Republic, in the international arena Israel was often being treated as the “collective Jew” and singled out. Kraus warned that measures such as the labeling “could be only a first step in a process – and where synagogues are burning, later entire cities will burn.”
Hungary has also declared it would not abide by the EU guidelines. Hungary’s foreign minister said last month in Jerusalem that Budapest would not label Israeli settlement goods, calling the EU guidelines “irrational.”
Greece also declared it opposed the guidelines.