LUXEMBOURG — A senior adviser to the EU’s top court says today it was his legal advice that products from territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war must be clearly labeled as such to avoid misleading consumers.
The European Court of Justice is not obliged to follow Advocate General Gerard Hogan’s advice, but the former Irish judge’s legal opinions are seen as highly influential in the bench’s deliberations.
The ECJ is considering a request from France’s top tribunal for clarification of rules on labeling goods from the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, which the international community considers occupied Palestinian land, as well as the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967.
In legal advice to the court, Hogan says that, under EU rules, labels must make it clear if products originate in those territories, and in particular if they come from Israeli settlements in those areas.
“EU law requires, for a product originating in a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, the indication of the geographical name of this territory and, where it is the case, the indication that the product comes from an Israeli settlement,” an ECJ statement outlining Hogan’s legal opinion says.
France published guidelines in 2016 saying products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights must carry labels making their precise origin clear, but this was challenged by the Organisation Juive Europeene (European Jewish Organisation) and Psagot, a company that runs vineyards in the West Bank.