Sunday, August 2, 2015

Europe: Fighting the coming EU economic war against Israel

Legal Insurrection reports:

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich testifies before
the House to unlawful and discriminatory
European Union policies.

The Security Subcommittee of The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on July 28, 2015, on The Impact of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.

The Tower has a write up on the full scope of the hearing. [...]

In this post, we focus on the testimony of Northwestern Univ. Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich. [...]

The Coming Unlawful EU Economic War Against Israel

The real fight currently is not so much over BDS, which has almost no economic impact on Israel itself, but over possible EU adoption of BDS-style policies. If the EU does so, it would be engaging in unlawful and discriminatory trade practices uniquely against Israel:
In the next few months – possibly as early as September – the European Commission plans to adopt a measure requiring special labeling for Israeli goods related to “settlements,” as well as other restrictions, including the outright exclusions on some agricultural products.
These are not general measures applying to trade with what the EU considers occupied territories; rather, they are special sanctions aimed solely at Israel. Thus the statements of European officials show that these actions are another step in a systematically implemented series of increasingly serious trade restrictions against Israel. Proposed future steps include restrictions on all Israeli banks because of their operations in disputed territories.
In other words, the EU is self-consciously attempting to pioneer a new model for trade with Israel and relationship to the areas under Israeli jurisdiction that fundamentally differs from its relationships with other countries.
The proposed EU measures are unlawful trade barriers against Israeli products. They violate European duties under multilateral and bilateral trade agreements. In particular, the proposed measures raises strong claims by Israel under articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, as well as the Articles IX, X and XIII of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, Article 2.3 and 5.6 of the Agreement on the Applications Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, among others.
Every excuse the EU raises for treating Israel differently does not hold up to scrutiny:
Nor is there any merit to the EU’s contention that its trade obligations to Israel only apply to what it regards as Israeli sovereign territory. There is no principle in trade law restricting the application of trade agreements to sovereign territory. Trade agreements often apply to areas where sovereignty is not recognized or disputed, such as Taiwan, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), and the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, the EU itself includes occupied Western Sahara within the territorial scope of its treaties with Morocco, undermining its contentions about Israel.

Keep in mind the proposals seek to level the playing field internationally against dishonest and unlawful attempts to single Israel out using standards and sanctions not applied to any other country, much less any of of our allies. 

Europe cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As history and current events prove. More.

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