• EXCLUSIVE: Label extension granted - The dti has extended by 30 days the closing of public submissions on Notice 379/2012 proposing that goods from the West bank (Judea & Samaria) not be labeled as “Made in Israel.” The extension will be gazetted shortly.
• ANC turn-around: Now supports “boycott” of Israeli goods – Publisher Ant Katz’ op-ed piece looks at the confusing messages emanating from SA gov’t and ANC alliance circles & tries to establish just where SA/Israel trade & diplomatic ties are headed. He reaches a surprising outcome.
• RoRo tells dti where to stick there labels In her latest blog from Israel - “Label THIS!” - Rolene Marks says good things about the “Africans for Israel” march and analyses the declining relationship between SA and Israel. “Close on 1700 marchers participated … telling the DTI where they could effectively stick their labels!”
• No holds barred as Ant Katz responds to BDS kingpin Zackie Achmat “I won’t be used in this way!” Ant tells man behind SA’s relabeling plan. In a new blog, he posts: “Achmat pulls non-facts out of thin air in an attempt to regain the tempo. In his need to add credibility to his nefarious attack on facts, he tries to associate credible sources to his lies,” blogs Ant, who was one of those used by Achmat
• Israel pulls no punches in official response to Rob Davies - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Israeli Ambassador Dov Segev-Steinberg, who gave MyShtetl a peek at what Israel told SA in its official response to planned new relabelling law yesterday. Shtetlers get world scoop on this story! Once again.
• “Africans for Israel” huge success - 1600 Marchers in Pretoria don’t buy the “only protecting consumers” argument offered by the Department of Trade & Industry, warm ambassador’s heart. Our Adam Zaiden was there. READ HIS REPORT & SEE HIS GREAT PICS.
• Rob's now had over 3,000 of our mails! By Sunday night over 3,000 Shtetlers had stood up for Israel. “Hearts for Israel” makes it as easy as one-click for users to protest & tell Min. Davies what they think of his GG379/12 Notice. Tell him now!
• LABEL THIS! - “Close on 1700 marchers participated in this “Africans for Israel” march, telling the DTI where they could effectively stick their labels!” Read Rolene Marks’ latest blog, “LABEL THIS!” on last week's march against GG379/12.
• Cape Fed hits back at Hersch - SAZF Cape Council responded tonight to David Hersch’s widely-read tirade. The Cape Fed rebuts Hersch’s reference to ‘an opening skirmish’ and says it is involved in a “full-scale offensive.” Read what they have to say.
• Schism after Cape meet and comments - Hersch takes leadership to task: “Why the Board’s meeting last Mon should never have taken place” is top trending Jewish social media topic. His “followers” & “likers” don’t pull punches either. How deep is the crack?
• Relabelling just a “Red Herring” - SA has become an epicentre of the BDS movement, Fairplay’s Fischer tells Cape community last week. The labelling issue is just a “red herring” & the beginning of a boycott, a BDS “assault against Israel’s legitimacy.”
• Join the “Africans For Israel” protest march next week, buses provided - We should all join ACDP leader Rev Meshoe (pic), IFP president Buthelezi, Shembe bishops & clerics & other African communities in their anti-relabeling protest next week to hand petition to Min. Rob Davies.
• “Let’s flood Ministers e-mail” - The “Hearts for Israel” Campaign has generated a one-click e-mail for us to all send our protest of the planned relabeling law. Stand up for Israel, Shtetlers, it’s one click!
• RoRo has a GoGo - In a new blog “South Africa – STILL Practicing Apartheid,” Rolene Marks posts: “Naturally there are those who will deny that these accusations are anti-Semitic by crying Mazel Tov! Gefilte Fish! We love the Jewish people – we just hate Israel.”
• Dr Davies, I presume - “At midday on 11 June it was announced that Minister Rob Davies has signed some sort of trade agreement with Saudi Arabia,” posted Shtetler Stan Luntz this afternoon. “Helps explain his anti-Israel stance, no?”
• Jerusalem & Pretoria - A relationship under pressure? - Cape Town Board calls “critical general community meeting” with a VIP panel chaired by Li Boiskin and Board national chair Mary Kluk to include a report-back on the recent meeting with Minister of Trade & Industry, Rob Davies.
• Dear Minister Davies... you have been well and truly duped Apfel & Selikow respond to the tête-à-tête between Mazinter & 702’s Robbie over latter’s on-air comments. Now, Apfel publishes an open letter to Minister Davies signed by concerned SA Jews & Christians alike.
• Rod Mazinter & John Robbie exchange e-mails - Rod Mazinter from Cape Town's GroupEighteen, & 702’s John Robbie have a tête-à-tête after Robbie’s on-air comments. SAZionism’s Abel says Mazinter handled the matter “very well – in both tone and content.”
• Our Debbie struts her stuff UKZN ignores her letter, so an undeterred Fair Media Assn’s Mankowitz publishes "Smacks of Racism" (African BDS Disgrace) in media and now it’s going viral. Good on you, Debbie - that’s the way to fight back at them!
• Tit-forTat letters fly in Cape Town Cape Fed head Levitas lashed over 23 May letter on media bias over re-labelling by Terry Crawford-Browne on 28 May. SAIPAC’s David Hersch hits back – telling TCB he “was no ‘peace monitor’ but a "self-appointed irritation.
• Cape man slams Crawford-Browne Cape community member John Berkshire finds “tendentious article” of 20 June displays “visceral hatred” of former Arms Deal opponent, now anti-Israel proponent, & responds with his views for Shtetlers. A great read!
• Community meeting with Board & Fed The Fed & Board’s community meeting on the re-labelling of West Bank goods on Tues became a rowdy affair and was told that Israel is the only country that SA has targeted Follow ball-by-ball coverage on MyShtetl
• On moral heft, SA is a heavyweight - Time blogger Karl Vick believes “SA’s Decision to Rebrand Some Israeli Imports Packs a Punch.” He says that “being judged by SA carries a special weight,” & quotes HU prof as saying for Israel to accuse SA of racism requires chutzpah.
• Community Q&A meet Tuesday - Krengel & Kluk invite all to attend an “important community meeting” on Tues evening at Beyachad. If you can’t attend, post your questions & MyShtetl will submit them for you.
• SAIPAC says Mazeltov - Cape Town-based SA Israel Public Affairs Committee sends letter of congratulations to chairs of the SAJBD and SAZF for their “current initiatives and actions,” and offers any assistance.
• “It’s game-on,” says Avrom - Fed chair Avrom Krengel hopping mad with Minister Davies after joint Fed/Board delegation met him in Cape Town this morning. Krengel says that Minister “is not prepared to budge” on his anti-Israeli stance and Jewish community is going to have to put everything it has into challenging this position.
• Publisher’s blog - MyShtetl’s Ant Katz blogs that “once again, despite regular and vigorous denials to the contrary, media statements are being withheld from MyShtetl by the Board and Fed staffers.”
• Meeting ends badly Board chair Kluk speaks to MyShtetl immediately after Thurs morning meeting of delegation from Board and Fed with Minister Rob Davies. “Despite our best efforts to persuade the Minister that the process he has begun is flawed and biased, and after offering suggestions on how it could be more constructive, Minister Davies seems determined to continue.”
• Israel, SA Jewry step into high gear! Political, legal & diplomatic activity high. MFA calls in SA Amb’dor. Board & Fed to meet Davies, hold Q&A with SA Jewry. Top lawyers brought in to ensure a multi-fronted assault on SA Gov’t plans to re-label West Bank products. Already 34 million references on internet.
• Fed media release and Maurice Ostroff’s take from Israel: THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE THE JUDEA & SAMARIA BRANDS.
• Zackie Achmat rants on E-News Channel “I certainly don’t want to be able to buy products from people who benefit from Palestinian children being shot, being put in jail, being tortured and so on. … I believe that most Jewish South Africans would not buy products that come from settlements”
• UKZN cancels lecture by Israeli diplomat Popular deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy, Ya’akov Finkelstein advised less than 24-hours before he was due to speak today of cancellation "in view of the sensitivities & in the best interest of all parties concerned,"
• “Minister Rob Davies has done pro-Israel advocacy world-wide an enormous favour…” says Zionist advocate, author & blogger Steve Apfel IN an email Mon to prominent Zionist leaders encouraging them to act. READ WHAT HE SAID
• SAIPAC calls for ConCourt challenge - call for this law, if it is promulgated, to be legally challenged in the Constitutional Court. “The SA Government’s case can be seriously challenged & probably beaten,” says SAIPAC head David Hersch.
• Minister Davies has “repeatedly declined to meet with the Board” - “decision was taken based on communications with lobby groups (with) pronounced anti-Israel political agenda.” Board accuses government of “politicising a technical trade issue” but offers no proposals.
Israel blasts SA proposal
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned SA ambassador Ishmael Coovadia today to protest what Ayalon called SA’s proposed new “racist” laws for labelling of goods imported from the West Bank. Israel is livid while Denmark is to follow SA’s suit. Community will have to counter BDS en masse to try and defeat this one.
The gazetting of the law and calling for objections last week has had huge international repercussions – with Denmark yesterday saying they will follow suit and that they hope the EU will take their lead. The story has made headline news on every continent over the weekend and has already been published in hundreds of newspapers and on thousands of websites.
MyShtetl broke the news of Trade & Industries Minister Rob Davies’ threats last September to enact legislation that would require “MADE IN ISRAEL” to be replaced with "Product of illegal settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" on a large variety of settlement products imported into SA. Last September, MyShtetl quoted Davies as saying:
“We're persuaded it's in the interest of South African
consumers to know whether their products are
coming from Israel or from the occupied territories"
Trade & Industry Minister Rob Davies
At the time the SA Jewish Board of Deputies assured MyShtetl publisher Ant Katz that a meeting had been set up with the minister and that the situation would be managed.
Minister Davies was quoted in the media this weekend as saying that “South Africa recognizes the State of Israel only within the borders demarcated by the UN in 1948.” This statement, more than any other, seems to have inflamed Israeli politicians and bureaucrats alike and sparked their condemnation of SA as being biased and singling out Israel.
This is a massive victory for the SA BDS campaign which has once again managed to boost the movement globally by associating the SA government’s unprecedented move to have the name of Israel dropped from labels on merchandise made in the settlements – and thus give credence to the argument that if SA says there’s Apartheid, it must be so.
The SA government gazetted a notice for comment (SEE PICS BELOW) saying it wants to require merchants "not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory as products of Israel." The notice did not specify what the labels should say and the proposal has not yet taken effect, pending public objections that can be submitted through the end of June.
Do your duty and object!
Members of the Jewish community should lodge as many objections as possible. Public comments should be sent to Davies’ department by 9 July, these can be done by phone, with Ntutuzelo Vananda at 012 394-1383, by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or in a letter to 77 Mentjies Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria.
Israel claims it is being singled out because special labels are not applied to products made in dozens of other places where territorial conflicts exist. "All these things are characteristic of racism," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor today.
“Palestinians and their supporters, inspired by the economic boycott of apartheid-era South Africa, have been trying for years to spark a punishing economic war on Israel to force it to end its occupation of lands Palestinians claim for a future state,” said one Israeli news report today.
“Their campaign of divestment and boycott has had negligible economic effect, but the voice of the South African government could be a symbolic boost. South Africa is not major market for Israeli products,” said another. “Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, praised the South African step, saying it constituted ‘a genuine challenge to Israel on its continuous violation of international law and the rights of the Palestinian people.’ He also voiced hope it would help to shift Israeli public opinion in favour of the Palestinian position.”
Jewish settlements in the West Bank produce items such as wine, Dead Sea cosmetics and agricultural products, including olives and dates.
What the people are saying…
Rhoda Kadalie, executive director of Cape Town-based Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre, is disgusted by the move. “The double standards are breath-taking,” she told MyShtetl this evening. “And, as for Zackie Achmat who spends time investigating where cosmetic products come from and working with Rob Davies to block imports, when SA is in dire straits in every sphere, he should be exposed for the Stalinist gate-keeper that he has become.”
Kadali says that Achmat’s “hate for Israel drives him insane and misdirected! Meanwhile Israel’s growth rate is escalating, its expertise in science and technology is well-known, its health, nutrition and life expectancy rank amongst the highest in the world when our country's continually goes down on the Human Development Index.”
South African Zionist Federation spokesman Ben Swartz said the issue remained a "highly political development and very concerning both to the Jewish community and many other interested parties." Schwartz said that "the facts around the allegations remain open to serious debate and scrutiny. We will be following due and proper process in submitting our response as invited by the notice."
“Do three or four Open Shuhada Street individuals wield more power than the combined might of all the Jewish organizations in South Africa?” asked one importer of Israeli products in an e-mail today. “Is this now a matter being left to me to single-handedly fight?” This was promptly answered by a senior SAZF executive who advised that “A multi-pronged response is being formulated, by the Board, SAZF and Fairplay. Your input will also be canvassed. You will hear from us shortly.” The response of the importer: “Thank you for your swift reply. I feel much more at ease from your response.”
“All power to you! We stand with the SAZF 100%,” responded Support Association for Zionism (SAZ) co-chairman David Abel, who promptly addressed a mail to FairplaySA, SAZF and the SAJBD saying: “Right on! Let’s fight the good fight together; let the community show its courage and its strength as free people in a democratic country standing up for what is right and true.”
”This is something we will have to fight,” David Hersch, head of The South Africa Israel Public Affairs Committee (SAIPAC) told MyShtetl. The Cape Town-based Zionist believes that the best strategy is to “embarrass the SA Government with logic and their mistaken concept of international law and the Geneva Conventions.”
Excerpts from a BDS-SA mailer to media and members: Products from the Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are illegal under international law; however, Israel has tried exporting them in recent years under the false pretense (sic) of having been “Made in Israel.” The notice by Minister Rob Davies … will also pave the way for major consumer involvement, activism and boycott actions, particularly in relation to Israeli products such as Soda Stream and Ahava Cosmetics which are sold, in contravention of international (sic), in South African stores such as Dischem, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Wellness Warehouse. Israeli trade with South Africa will no doubt be rendered far more difficult and Israeli companies wanting to do business in South Africa will now have to think twice.
David Abel addressed the following letter to a huge database of SA Zionists:
How does the SA Govt reconcile using Israel technology for devices (strapped to ankles) to release thousands of prisoners from SA jails, with preventing a Western Cape MEC for Agriculture from visiting Israel (presumably to benefit from Israel expertise in that field)? In other words, how can SA policy allow the use of Israel technology for SA’s prison services but not for SA’s agricultural services?
Should this inconsistency not be exposed at top government level? Maybe it is time to enlist all “non-hostile” forces in & outside Parliament to tackle the MEC for Agriculture issue, while pursuing the Dept. of Trade’s “Israel product labelling” matter through all available legal/constitutional processes.
My company is presently working on an innovative agricultural project (with considerable export & commercial/industrial beneficiation potential) which promises to create tens of thousands of jobs for rural/urban communities. We are also considering involving Israel agriculture in joint venture participation to raise the Jewish state’s profile in this country.
Are we to understand that SA would actually ignore such an enormous job creation project (the country’s greatest need) on the basis of an inconsistent, selective and hypocritical interpretation of SA trade policies – to the detriment of the country’s poorest of the poor?
In that event, it could provide significant ammunition for opposition parties in Parliament. The DA’s high profile march on COSATU was all about job creation – and demonstrated the extent to which that party was now prepared to go on such an important national issue.
Last month the lobby group Open Shuhada Street threatened to take Rob Davies to court for failing to "give proper reasons" why he had referred the matter to Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala. In a joint statement this week, Open Shuhada Street and other lobby groups including the Palestine Solidarity Forum, welcomed Mr Davies’ announcement as a "significant encouragement to all Palestinian people."
MyShtetl was unable to reach senior Board or Fed execs as they were involved in Yom Yerushalyim functions this evening. We have e-mailed requests for their comments and will update this story immediately once we hear from, or speak to, the Board and Fed.
What MyShtetl wrote last year…
"Product of illegal settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" was the headline of MyShtetl’s breaking news story last September. It was a quotation attributed to Minister Davies as to what the relabelled products would have to say.
We exposed the government’s plans eight months ago “to enact rules which will place trade obstacles in the way of Israeli imports” emanating from “occupied territories” in this way – as Davies put it last September.
We got German Measles was the unusual title of another story on MyShtetl a few weeks later. The biggest German daily newspaper and website were researching a story on threats to boycott Ahava products in that country (where they enjoy fantastic support). MyShtetl’s story on the relabeling came up on top due to our high Google profile, the Germans later told us.
They reported on what was afoot in SA with links to our website to millions of Germans. In one day we had almost 3,000 people clicking through to us from Germany. When we looked at the Google Analytics map to see where all these hits were coming from, it showed Germany covered in spots. Take a look – we published the map, too.
What the media is saying…
Israel to Summon South African Ambassador over boycott of products produced by Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria after SA’s Dept of Trade and Industry announced on Saturday that products produced by Israeli companies in Shomron cannot be labelled as products of Israel – wrote AretzSheva.
The announcement follows a year-long campaign by pro-Palestinian Authority groups. Denmark is planning a similar step. While pro-PA groups fight to mark Judea and Samaria-produced products in an attempt to pressure Israel, the step is likely to hurt PA residents more than it hurts Israeli employers. Israel’s factories in Judea and Samaria employ a total of over 10,000 PA Arabs, doing much to reduce the PA’s high rate of unemployment.
Denmark follows South Africa in announcing special labels for settlement goods read JTA’s feature headline today.
SA wants Made in Palestine labels wrote News24.com. SA is planning to require "Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" labels on products from the region in place of "Made in Israel" labels, the trade ministry said on Saturday. "For now, there is no decision but people should know that South Africa recognises Israel inside the 1948 UN borders," Macdonald Netshitenzhe, the trade ministry's director for trade policies and legislations, said. "Now coming to the issue of Palestine and Israel, a product from Israel has to be manufactured or produced within the borders of 1948. Under the 1948 boundaries, territories occupied after 1967 such as the Gaza Strip are not included. Therefore for the goods or vegetables which are grown in the area where Israel invaded other Arab countries, South Africa says, you better say these products are grown in Palestine or Occupied Palestinian Territories," Netshitenzhe added.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday the move was aimed at helping "South Africans who do not support Israel, but who in fact do support the Palestinians, to identify those products."
[The irony of the planned re-labelling, which would appear to have gone over Davies & Co’s heads, is that the same products made by the same settler businesses and which are at present boycotted by many - will now be given a Made in Palestine label and be bought by boycotters. Which is good, because more Palestinians will be employed and more tax will accrue to the Israeli treasury. Maybe we shouldn’t object after all. ED]
The Cape Times ran the story on page 1 on Friday with a picture of an elated Zachie Achmat (SEE BELOW). Open Shuhada Street member Zackie Achmat said last night that the department had been given proof of Ahava products being incorrectly labelled and sold locally in stores such as Dis-chem. “If any company that makes products coming from occupied Palestine says the products are made in Israel, they are breaking two laws. One is an international law under the Geneva Convention, which says you can’t occupy a country and you can’t steal its resources. The other law being broken is our Consumer Protection Act, which says you cannot falsely label a product,” Achmat said. On its website, Open Shuhada said: “Minister Davies’s notice is… encouragement to all Palestinian people… The government’s step in this direction is also a defence of Jewish Israeli dissenters and activists who, along with their Palestinian comrades, face imprisonment if they call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions,” wrote the Cape Times.
SA to ban labelling West Bank settlement products as 'made in Israel' said the headline in Haaretz. South Africa intends to ban marketing products made in Israeli West Bank settlements with the labels "Made in Israel."
Notice on wrong ‘made in Israel’ labels was the headline in Friday’s edition of the influential Business Day. The Department of Trade and Industry is preparing a notice compelling traders in SA not to label products originating from occupied Palestinian territories as products of Israel. This could deal Israeli companies wanting to do business in SA a heavy blow and negatively affect local retail giants that stock Israeli merchandise. Business Day said that Mr Davies intended to issue a notice to "require traders in SA not to incorrectly label products that originate from occupied Palestinian territory as products of Israel."
Israel blasts SA proposal on settlement goods was an excellent article posted on M&G online today. The M&G summed it up with: The Palestinian campaign to boycott goods from Jewish settlements in the West Bank has received a boost with an unprecedented South African proposal.
Palestinians and their supporters, inspired by the economic boycott of apartheid-era South Africa, have been trying for years to spark a punishing economic war on Israel to force it to end its occupation of lands Palestinians claim for a future state. ‘Challenge to Israel’ - Their campaign of divestment and boycott has had negligible economic effect, but the voice of the South African government could be a symbolic boost. SA is not a major market for Israeli products.
Israel blasts foreign proposal on settlement goods said boston.com. "All these things are characteristic of racism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Sunday. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel would summon the South African ambassador to protest the proposal.
Lieberman: S. Africa's anti-Israel policy has been pronounced for years read a headline on ynetnews.com. “Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded on Sunday to South Africa's decision to mark products that originate in the settlements and said: ‘Sadly South Africa has been adopting a pronounced anti-Israel policy over the last few years. I'm saddened by the fact that a country that suffered for years from racism is now adopting the same attitude towards Israel,’ he said.” Lieberman also noted that "it is no coincidence that the Durban conference which is the most anti-Israeli forum, is held in South Africa."
'Palestinians will lose jobs if boycott persists' read another ynetnews.com story. “Owners of factories in West Bank say SA decision to mark settlement products will only harm local employees - 'Ideology is a nice thing, but economic interests eventually prevail,' says factory manager.” Ironically, said the article, those who would get harmed the most by the move are some 15,000 Palestinian workers who are employed in these factories and depend on them to make a living.
S. Africa to ban labeling Ahava as 'made in Israel' said a jpost.com headline. “Israel reacted furiously to the SA announcement, which the Foreign Ministry said was the first of its kind in the world. Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said the ministry will call in the SA ambassador to protest the move.” The story continued to quote Hirschson saying that "The singling out of one side of one conflict out of all the conflicts in the world is verging on racism. This is sad coming from South Africa, which should know better."
S. Africa to enforce special labelling of settlement products was another story on ynetnews.com on Denmark's Foreign Minister Willy Sondal saying he is looking into special labels for products made in the West Bank. In an interview with a local paper, Sondal said he wants to give consumers the option to decide which products to purchase. "This move shows consumers that the products are made under conditions that are not only approved by the Danish government, but also by European governments," he said.
South Africa wants 'Made in Palestinian Territories' labels, Israel describes the move as 'racist' read the lead story in The European Jewish Press today, quoting Davies as saying the move was aimed at helping "South Africans who do not support Israel, but who in fact do support the Palestinians, to identify those products." Davies insisted that "This doesn't, however, mean any kind of boycott of Israeli products."
Spat - the govt gazette notice page 1 of 2.jpg