Decisions being taken in April on the labelling of goods in supermarkets from illegal Israeli settlements
Write to Hilary Benn TODAY see sample letter
Lawyers from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the Food Standards Agency (Minister- Hilary Benn) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Minister- David Miliband) are right now drafting new guidelines on how goods from illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories are labelled and sold in the UK. These guidelines are crucial in that they determine how supermarkets label produce form the illegal West Bank settlements.
Feedback from the supermarkets makes it clear that consumer action is having a significant effect on their attitude towards settlement goods. It is therefore urgent that we keep up the pressure on the government during the next 2 weeks. In particular we must pressure the Government to obtain, and publish, an expert legal opinion on whether or not trading with the settlements is itself legal.
Please write immediately to Hilary Benn (Hilary.Benn@defra.gsi.gov.uk) ,
copying your letter to your MP, demanding that the labelling of settlement produce clearly indicates its illegal origins. There is a model letter attached which includes the postal address.
Current practices of mislabelling of produce from the illegal settlements in the West Bank as produce of Israel in retail shops in the UK has led to the producers illegally benefitting from the EU Israel preferential trade agreement and loss to the British taxpayer of trade tariff revenue, and the more recent ‘West Bank’ labelling in some supermarkets has misled consumers in to believing that they are supporting Palestinian farmers.
If the UK government will not ban the import of these goods, then we must make sure that its labelling gives the consumer clear ethical guidance on the origin. This can only be achieved if all these goods carry a label that describes the goods/produce as coming from ‘illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank’.