Europe’s Largest Department Store Knocks Off Israeli Settlement Products

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KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens or Department Store of the West) is Europe's largest department store. It sits on Tauentzienstraße in Berlin between Wittenbergplatz and Breitscheidplatz
KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens or Department Store of the West) is Europe’s largest department store. It sits on Tauentzienstraße in Berlin between Wittenbergplatz and Breitscheidplatz

STEPHEN LENDMAN | Special to Caravan Daily

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he announcement sounds better than the reality. Still, any action nicking Israeli near-impregnability is welcome.

Following EU-mandated labeling guidelines for settlement products, Berlin-based Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) removed all Israeli settlement produced items from its shelves. Growing numbers of European companies refuse to import them.

Store spokeswoman Petra Fladenhofer said “(o)nly after fixing the labels, we’ll return the products to our shelves.” Labeling is far short of what’s needed.

Banning all settlement products produced on stolen Palestinian land is essential – a first step toward a total boycott of Israeli goods and services, as well as Security Council action mandating an arms embargo, prohibiting nations from selling Israel weapons, munitions and related products, anything potentially aiding its killing machine, raging daily against defenseless Palestinians.

Palestinian BDS National Committee coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa called the new labeling requirement a “sign that European governments are reacting to public opinion, civil society campaigning and Israeli intransigence and are becoming more willing to take some basic action against Israeli violations of international law.”

At the same time, “putting some labels on a small number of Israeli products is hardly a proportionate response to repeated Israeli war crimes.”

Israel is a rogue terror state, one of the world’s most ruthless, a democracy in name only, far from it in reality. Tough, uncompromising measures are need against it. Labeling does nothing to stop daily atrocities committed against Palestinian men, women and children.

EU countries and America partner with Israeli high crimes – an evil axis fostering endless wars of aggression and unspeakable human suffering throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Reacting to announced EU labeling guidelines, The New York Times shamelessly equated the move to Nazis’ use of yellow stars – typical Times “yellow” journalism, on the wrong side of major issues.

Expected reactions followed KaDeWe’s decision. Israeli hardliners call anything critical of their policies anti-Semitic – when made by Jews they’re ludicrously called self-hating.

Netanyahu raged, asking German officials to stop what he absurdly called a “total boycott,” ranting at his Sunday cabinet meeting as follows:

“This department store was under Jewish ownership. The Nazis took it. (N)ow this department store is marking products from settlements in Judah, Samaria and the Golan. It started with marking products, and now we have been told that they removed the products – a total boycott.”

“We protest this unacceptable step – unacceptable from an ethical point of view, substantively improper and historically invalid. We expect the German government, which came out against the labeling of products, to take action in this serious matter.”

Separately, he accused EU officials of mandating labeling for “the side being attacked by terror” – his usual blame the victim bluster.

He openly wears his racist extremism on one sleeve, his fascist credentials on the other. KaDeWe didn’t ban settlement products, as Netanyahu knows. They were pulled from shelves for re-labeling, according to mandated EU guidelines.

Germany’s government is over-the-top pro-Israeli. It’s long past time it stopped supporting a rogue regime in remembrance of Nazi crimes it had nothing to do with.

EU envoy to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, said comparisons to World War II era anti-Semitism were unwarranted. They cheapen the holocaust’s memory.

Whether intervention for Israel by German officials is forthcoming remains to be seen. Merkel’s CDU party called labeling “wrong,” stopping short of refusing to honor the new guidelines.

It bears repeating. Much tougher measures are needed. Slaps on the wrist accomplish nothing.

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