AMSTERDAM (JTA) – A store owned by Dutch Christian Zionists advertised to its customers products from Israeli settlements to protest an EU requirement that they be labelled separately.
The Israel Products Center in Nijkerk, a town situated 20 miles east of the Dutch capital, advertised the products in question specifically in a letter dated Feb. 10 by Pieter van Oordt, the store’s director, to its database of thousands of clients.
Among the products he recommended because they were made in Israeli settlements were wines made by the Jerusalem Hills and Zion Noblesse wineries, dates and a new shipment of olive products by the Shilo brand, which the store is expecting in May.
In the past, the store made no distinction between settlement products and ones from inside Israel’s internationally-recognized borders but Van Oordt wrote that the decision to highlight the former follows the adoption in November by the European Commission of regulations that require separate labelling for products that originate from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
“Regardless of the biblical and political arguments against the decision to partition Israel in such a way, it is also inhumane,” van Oordt wrote, citing the potential loss of livelihood for tens of thousands of Arab Palestinians who work in settlements. “These people deserve a salary to support their families,” he added.
In the letter, van Oordt wrote his store, which sells hundreds of made-in-Israel products, would wave shipment costs this month to encourage sales.
Separate labelling has not yet been implemented in the Netherlands. In November, it was taking place only in Britain, Denmark and Belgium. Arguing the measure was discriminatory, van Oordt added that products from other disputed territories around the world do not receive special labelling.
The Israel Product Center, one of Europe’s largest stores of its kind, was established in 1979 as part of Christians for Israel – an international organization headquartered in Nijkerk that was founded the same year by the late Karel van Oordt.