“A humble beginning of enforcement of international law for the rights of Palestinians”
On April 12, the Israel Products Center in Nijkerk announced that it had been fined € 2,100 by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) for incorrect labeling of settlement wines. This has settled a dispute between docP -BDS Netherlands and the Israel Products Center in favor of the BDS movement.
The dispute involved the sale of wines from Israel’s illegal settlements as if they were from Israel. A brief overview of the events: In April 2019, the Israel Products Center (IPC) of the Christians for Israel in Nijkerk was visited by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and was reprimanded for selling products from illegal settlements as being “Israeli products”. According to EU guidelines, sellers of such products must make it clear on the label that they come from an Israeli settlement in Palestine.
In December 2019, a scouting mission of BDS Netherlands during a “festive indulgence evening” organized by IPC revealed that the IPC still offered settlement wines for sale with the label “Israel”, when in reality they came from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. On the evening of December 19, 2019, twelve boycott activists from various parts of our country therefore voiced a loud protest at the IPC in Nijkerk against the promotion of such products.
On February 10, BDS Netherlands organized a letter writing campaign, allowing readers of our newsletter to write with one click to both tax inspection office FIOD (due to suspicions of import tax evasion) and the NVWA (due to incorrect labeling). This action was against the sore leg of IPC, which hired a lawyer and threatened legal action. With the support of ELSC, we have been able to clearly explain to the NVWA on which premises we have based our action. The IPC lawyer subsequently failed to live up to its threat.
The NVWA, which received more than 300 emails from our supporters, organized a re-inspection at the IPC in July 2021. The Christian Zionists thought they could get away with the label “coming from an Israeli village in Judea and Samaria”, but the NVWA did not fall for that. On the contrary, on September 5, the NVWA individually sent the following message to all who had participated in our letter writing campaign:
“An inspector from the NVWA has assessed the label and determined that the label does not meet the legal requirements. The NVWA has taken an appropriate measure for this. We thank you for taking the trouble to draw the attention of the NVWA to this matter. ”
On April 12, IPC announced that on April 9 it had received a 12-page letter from the NVWA explaining a fine of € 2,100 for incorrectly labeling wines from the illegal settlements. IPC announced that it would appeal and used the opportunity by not only organizing an email campaign to the NVWA, but also shamelessly advertising its illegal wines.
DocP-BDS Netherlands is pleased with the action of NVWA, which shows that this institution respects the regulations of the EU and the Netherlands on labeling, resulting in IPC being fined. The fine is minimal compared to the great damage suffered by the Palestinian people through the Israeli occupation and expropriation of its territory. Christians for Israel and the Israel Products Center have long benefited greatly from the sale, or rather the fencing, of products derived from stolen Palestinian land. May this small fine be a prelude to stronger enforcement of international law leading to the rollback of the settlement enterprise and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinians.
The ELSC (European Legal Support Center) has issued an international press release about this, which can be read here.