German Department Store KaDeWe apologized for removing Israeli wines from the shelves, saying it acted too quickly to follow a European Union recommendation.
A German department store said Sunday that it’s putting eight Israeli wines back on the shelves after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused it of boycotting Israeli goods.
KaDeWe (German: Department Store of the West) said on its Facebook page that the wines had been temporarily removed so the importer could relabel them in accordance with new European Union rules that require products originating in Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria to be labeled as such.
The store apologized and said that “as of today, the eight Israeli wines will be back in our assortment” and that “in this matter, which was about a European Union recommendation, we acted too quickly and insensitively.”
The EU decision earlier this month to begin labeling settlement products infuriated Israel, which says the move is unfair and discriminatory, and has linked it to a growing international boycott movement.
Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that the German department store’s actions constituted “a boycott in every respect,” adding that KaDeWe was once owned by Jews before the Nazis seized it.
He called on the German government, which opposes the product labeling, to act on the matter.
Critics of the boycott movement say it is anti-Semitic and meant to delegitimize the Jewish state as a whole. Many have compared it to the Nazi boycott prior to and during WWII, when Jewish academics were kicked out of universities and Jewish businesses were boycotted.
Supporters of the movement say it is modeled on efforts to boycott Apartheid South Africa. They say it is aimed at pressuring Israel to withdraw from territories seized from Jordan in the 1967 war that the Palestinians want for their future state.
In fact, Judea and Samaria was under Jordanian occupation only between 1948 – when the fledgling Jewish state was attacked by its Arab neighbors and Jordan captured those territories – and 1967, when Israel liberated the historic Jewish land in a war of self-defense.
Israel says the fate of the settlements should be resolved in peace talks along with other core issues, such as security and borders.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff