EU ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen lashed out Wednesday at critics of the body's controversial decision to label Jewish products made in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
“Talk of a European boycott just does not stand up to a reality check,” he asserted at the Jerusalem Post's Diplomatic Conference. “Let me say loud and clear: Europe is not boycotting Israel, and Europe is not boycotting settlements.”
Faaborg-Andersen further claimed that "settlement products" will continue to be marketed in Europe and stressed that the EU's relations with Israel were among the “closest, most diverse and most intense the EU has with any non-member state."
Noting the increase in trade between Israel and the EU, the ambassador appeared baffled by Israeli criticism over the issue of labeling.
He said the EU had been "accused of a variety of sins" by Israeli officials since the decision was handed down – including anti-Semitism, hypocrisy, rewarding terrorism and destroying Palestinians jobs.
“I've been shocked to hear claims of anti-Semitism and historical comparisons or analogies to the persecution of Jews in Germany in the 30s and 40s,” Faaborg-Andersen declared. “In my mind this is a distortion of history and belittlement of the crimes of the Nazis, and the memory of their victims.”
He also dismissed claims of European hypocrisy that such labeling is limited only to Israel – and ignores around 200 other cases of territorial disputes worldwide – by contending that "these comparisons are simply not relevant because the situations are different."
The ambassador then charged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with hypocrisy, arguing it was his duty to explain how a "commitment to the two-state solutions fits with the continued construction of settlements."
Faaborg-Andersen suggested construction in Judea-Samaria is a "major obstacle" to achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs.
Concluding, the ambassador reiterated that the European Union could not be accused of boycotting the Jewish state, as it continues to strengthen its cooperation with Israel.
Despite the EU envoy's criticism of Israel's presence in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, the 2012 Levy Report proved that presence is legal according to international law.