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Jews enraged by new labeling law
Al Jazeera says that South Africa's cabinet has approved the placing of labels on imported goods made by Jews in the occupied territories. The labels will say, “Made in Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
“This is in line with South Africa's stance that recognizes the 1948 borders delineated by the United Nations, and does not recognize occupied territories beyond these borders as being part of the state of Israel," government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told a press briefing on 22 Aug 2012. (The World Court has ruled that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. Also, the European Union grants a tariff exemption to imports from Israel, but not to imports coming from the occupied territory.)
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is enraged by the "discriminatory, divisive" measure.
In Israel, Yigal Palmor (foreign ministry spokesperson) said, “This is a boycott in disguise. It smacks of racism.”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said the labeling measure proves that South Africa remains an “apartheid state.”
South Africa responds that the move stems from its own history of apartheid, oppression and rights abuses. In May 2012 the South African trade ministry in May invited public comments on the labels, saying traders must put the tags on so that consumers will "not be misled.”
South Africa's relations with Israel have been uneasy for years, but reached a new low last Sunday (19 Aug 2012) when Ebrahim Ebrahim, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, called on citizens to avoid visiting Israel because of its brutality against Palestinians.
"Israel is an occupier country that is oppressing Palestine, so it's not proper for South Africans to associate with Israel," Ebrahim, told City Press newspaper. "We discourage people from going there, unless their visit is part of the peace process."
Reuters notes that Israeli trade with South Africa is modest, but Jews fear that the labeling measure could spread worldwide.