JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian campaign to boycott goods produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank has received a boost from abroad with an unprecedented South African proposal to have the name of Israel dropped from labels on merchandise made in the settlements.
The South African government issued a notice 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.
But 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,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Sunday. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel would summon the South African ambassador to protest the 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.