While Martin Schulz has made controversial statements in the past regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, last week he made clear his opposition to the European Union’s effort to label Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria.
During a meeting of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Berlin last week on Thursday evening, the latter said “the relations between Israel and Germany are good, in contrast to the relations between Israel and Sweden. The growing anti-Semitism should concern all of Europe. I oppose labeling products from the territories. It will mainly hurt the Palestinians, who make an honest living there.”
Edelstein said, “Countries and people in Europe cannot say they oppose anti-Semitism and in the same breath be anti-Israel. Israel will survive the labeling of products [manufactured in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem]. Those who will not survive are the thousands of Palestinian families who work shoulder to shoulder with their Jewish friends and have a shared life there. It will hurt their economy, their lives and their families, and it will destroy the seeds of peace that exist in those employment zones.”
“Wines from the Golan are being boycotted in Europe. I am willing to cede the Golan. Just tell me, to whom? To Syria? To ISIS?” Edelstein stated.
Edelstein also addressed a clip that was broadcast on Channel 2’s Uvda program last week, which showed a left-wing activist working for the NGO Ta’ayush bragging on hidden camera that he turns in Palestinians who sell land to Jews to the Palestinian Authority to be tortured and killed. “The European Union should be careful not to fund organizations that send people to be executed,” he said.
The EP President said the migrants who are flowing into Europe, mainly into Germany, “must first be educated to oppose anti-Semitism. I told the Hungarian prime minister that his statement that the migrants are not his country’s problem is unacceptable. Members of the European Union must realize that if we fail in absorbing the migrants, we will fail when it comes to other global threats as well.”
Addressing his own controversial speech at the Knesset, Schulz said “I met with young Israelis and Palestinians, and one of them gave me data regarding discrimination against the Palestinians regarding water. I merely asked in my speech if this was correct. I was not stating a fact.”
In February 2014, Schulz said behind the Knesset podium, “A Palestinian youth asked me why an Israeli can use 70 cubic liters of water and a Palestinian just 17. I haven’t checked the data. I’m asking you if this is correct.” At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Schulz of “selective hearing” for repeating the unverified Palestinian claim, and Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett demanded an apology from Schulz for his “lies.”
According to Malcolm Lowe, writing in Gatestone, “in the current English version of his speech, posted on the official site of the EU Parliament Presidency, the following disclaimer has been inserted into the sentence: “although I could not check the exact figures” (“wobei ich die genauen Zahlen nicht nachschlagen konnte” in the official German version). At the time of writing, however, the sentence without the disclaimer is still available in the version of the speech on the website of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and probably elsewhere, whether on internet or in printed newspapers. Moreover, he can be heard saying it in that form in the Knesset, without any disclaimer, in video clips here and (behind the Hebrew voice-over) here.”
So, basically, all’s well that ends well, apology accepted…