Herbs grown by Ada Fresh in the Ro'i settlement, exported to the European market with a "made in Israel" label. (Photo: Kav LaOved)
Following a decision earlier this month by South Africa to identify Israeli goods made over the Green Line as settlement products, yesterday Denmark announced that produce from Israeli settlements will no longer carry a "made in Israel" sticker. Although the decision, similar to the United Kingdom's system, is non-binding, it sparked criticism from the country's extremist anti-immigration political party, Dansk Folkeparti, or the Danish People’s Party (DPP).
Members of the xenophobic populist group denounced the optional labels, stating settlements could eventually become part of a future, greater state of Israel, thus muting their current illegal status. "Villy Søvndal has no idea where the borders will be drawn for a new Palestinian state," said the DPP’s Søren Espersen in reference to a Danish politician who supports the label initiative. Continuing, "Until the negotiations have been finalized, there is nothing illegal about the trade [of settlement products]." In addition to rejecting Israel's 1967 borders, the DPP also fiercely opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state--or any additional Arab state in the region.
But Erik Andersen of Denmark's food agency says "the rules are very clear. You cannot write that produce comes from Israel if it comes from an Israeli settlement from the occupied regions of the West Bank. That would be misleading and wrong markings."
Over the past decade the DPP's number of political seats has doubled in, making the group the largest extremist party in Denmark. Their popular support is built off of a platform of anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, nationalism, and what the Guardian's Anne Karpf calls philozionism, a growing European trend of simultaneous anti-Semitism and pro-Zionism. Last March, in the Guardian Karpt wrote about a philozionist rally organized by the English Defense league and held in Denmark, attended by the "who's who," hopefuls of a "papers, please" society.
"Islam threatens not only Israel, Islam threatens the whole world. If Jerusalem falls today, Athens and Rome, Amsterdam and Paris will fall tomorrow," said Holland's Geert Wilders, who is known for his comparison of the Qu'ran to Mein Kampf.
Karpt goes on to detail remarks by the nationalist public official attendees:
Meanwhile, Filip Dewinter, the leader of Belgium's Vlaams Belang party, which grew out of the Vlaams Blok nationalist party, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, has proposed a quota on the number of Belgian-born Muslims allowed in public swimming pools. Dewinter calls Judaism 'a pillar of European society,' yet associates with antiSemites while claiming that 'multiculture ... like Aids weakens the resistance of the European body' and 'Islamophobia is a duty.'
But the most rabidly Islamophobic European philozionist is Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom party, who has compared foreigners with harmful insects and consorts with neo-Nazis. And yet, where do we find Strache in December 2010? In Jerusalem, alongside Dewinter, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
Similar to the other parties at the conference, the DPP hopes to restrict all Muslim immigration to Denmark. "We must work towards bringing down the immigration from Muslim countries to zero. There can naturally be some exceptions, but there's a need for political ambition to bring Muslim immigration close to zero," announced the party at the beginning of this year.