South African Jewish leaders say trade minister is adamant on West Bank labeling
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies was “very disappointed” with its meeting with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on the labeling of products from the West Bank, a board spokeswoman said.
Thursday morning’s meeting with Davies at his office in Cape Town was held to discuss Davies’ proposal to ban labeling products from the West Bank as originating from Israel.
‘‘Minister Davies is truly engaged with his proposal,” spokeswoman Wendy Kahn told JTA. “He is adamant that the notice will come through. We have made clear the point that it would have been more useful to allow South African stakeholders to participate in the elaboration of the proposal in order to find a more balanced way to deal with the issue, but in vain.”
In a notice printed earlier this month in a governmental publication, Davies declared that South African consumers should not be misled into believing that products originating from what he called the OPT, or Occupied Palestinian Territories, are products originating from Israel. Davies specified in his notice some ‘‘misleading labeled products’’ as “Ahava products, and other Cosmetic brands, technology and soft drinks.”
Kahn said the minister did not propose any constructive way to advance the discussion.
She also said that the Board of Deputies, together with the South Africa Zionist Federation, will make submissions against the proposal, according to the established procedure, and act in other ways, as per the advice of its legal team.