Israeli farmers launch charm offensive against European boycotts

Instead of continuing to hide the origin of their products, Israeli farmers from Judea and Samaria will proudly promote them.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Israeli farmers from Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights are changing their strategy in response to the European boycott. Instead of hiding the origin of their products, they will emphasize it, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

In recent years, date growers in the Jordan Valley, wine producers in the Golan Heights and farmers from Judea and Samaria have suffered what they describe as significant losses due to BDS efforts to disrupt the sale of their agricultural produce abroad, especially in Europe.

Sales were also hurt by the European Union’s (EU) demand to label Israeli produce from beyond the Green Line.

In 2015, France and 15 other European Union (EU) countries urged the bloc to clearly label products sold in member countries that originated in areas “occupied” by Israel. Goods from those areas that are not produced by Israelis continued to be labeled “product of Palestine.”

Israeli farmers and authorities have tried to deal with the problem by diverting exports from Western European markets to the east and Russia. However, they have now decided to change their strategy, and instead of hiding, they will highlight the source of the produce.

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The new strategy, initiated by Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan together with the farmers’ representatives, are taking the battle to open ground. Produce will be marketed openly and proudly, and public opinion makers will be invited to Israel for promotional purposes.

A two-stage plan was formulated. The first element calls for the initiated marketing of produce from Judea and Samaria as such, in various places around the world.

“We are already exposing the produce of the Jordan Valley in the world, and we will present it at conferences in the US and Europe. From past experience we know it works. People like our dates, and when they taste them we tell the story and describe reality as it is, above the heads of the leaders,” said David Elhiani, head of the Jordan Valley Council.

The second aspect of the program, launched this week, entails bringing public opinion makers to targeted tours in Judea and Samaria. Five delegations are expected in the area for a week-long stay.