[Boycott - Economic - Europe]
Israeli West Bank food company fakes address for EU markets
Akiva Eldar, Haaretz
26 March 2010
Shamir Salads, an Israeli company located in the West Bank, is marketing its products in Europe using a false address west of the Green Line, violating an agreement between Israel and the European Union.
Jewish activists last week gave the left-wing Gush Shalom movement a label from a Shamir Salads hummus tin they bought in The Hague. The tin has a Kiryat Ata address on it and a Tel Aviv area phone number.
The company's Internet site, however, says it can be contacted at Shamir Salads 2006 ltd., P.O.Box 5, Barkan industrial area.
The European Court of Justice ruled last month that products manufactured in West Bank settlements are not Israeli and will be taxed. The trade agreements with the EU states exempt most products made in Israel or the Palestinian Authority from tax, while goods made in the settlements are under different customs laws.
The ruling was issued after the German tax authorities forbade the German Brita company to import Soda Club products, because they were made in the company's plant in the West Bank.
The court ruled that the customs agreement with Israel applies only to territories in full Israeli sovereignty, and not the territories Israel occupied in 1967.
Gush Shalom accused Shamir Salads of deceiving both the European tax authorities and the consumers, who are not aware they are buying a product made in the settlements.
Shamir Salads' false label
Gush Shalom Press Release
27 March 2010
"Salatey Shamir", located in the Barkan settlement on the West Bank, gives incorrect information on products sold in Europe, hiding its true location from customers and tax authorities
Recently Gush Shalom heard from Jewish peace activists in the Netherlands that the "Shamir Salads" company gives false information on the covers of its products sold in Europe.
Shamir Salads false label claims its manufactured in Kiryat-Ata in Israel (also showing a fake Tel Aviv telephone number), in reality its based on the settlement industrial zone of Barkan in the West Bank.
The activists said that they had purchased a box of Shamir Salads hummus at the Kosher Food shop in The Hague, on which the label read that the company is located in Kiryat Ata, north of Haifa. But when they checked the list of settlement products on the Gush Shalom website, they discovered that the Shamir Salads factory is in fact at the industrial zone of the Barkan settlement on the West Bank. They told Gush Shalom that they support Israel and hope that Israel will achieve a peaceful future, but that they strongly oppose the settlements and would by no means have knowingly bought a product manufactured in one of them.
Actually, Shamir Salads practice a double deception. The company deceives the tax authorities in Europe, which according to the recent ruling of the European Court should not consider settlement products as being "Made in Israel" and therefore should not grant them the tax-exempt status due to Israeli products. The company also deceives customers who do not know that they are buying a product from an illegal settlement in an occupied territory.
The Shamir Salads Company casts suspicion on all Israeli products entering the European market, causing them to be suspected of being produced in settlements - thus playing into the hands of the initiators of total boycott of all Israeli products, which is gathering momentum worldwide".
Gush Shalom approached supporters in other countries to check if also in their countries "Shamir Salads" are marketed with false information on the packaging. The movement also wrote to the The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel, pointing out that Ya'akov Ginsburg and Itzik Levy, two executives of the Shamir Salads Company, are registered members of the Institute. "The most basic asset of an accountant should be a spotless character. Being on the management level of a company which presents false information in order to avoid paying customs in Europe is hardly consistent with what is expected of an accountant".
"We call upon the Shamir Salads Company to cease these tactics of deception, which are bound to be uncovered, and to start preparing for departure from the Occupied Territories. If they leave the Barkan Settlement and actually set themselves up in Kiryat Ata, or anywhere else in the sovereign State of Israel, we will gladly take them off the list of products of settlements, and make it known" says Adam Keller, the Gush Shalom Spokesperson.
"With those who settle in Occupied Territory because of ideology, because God has promised them the land or because our ancestors lived there 3000 years ago, we have no dealing and no basis for dialogue. But as far as we know, Shamir Salads - like the vast majority of enterprises which established themselves in the settlements - went there out of pure business considerations. We hope to convince them that investing in a settlement located in Occupied Territory is a bad and dangerous investment, an investment which would close and block many doors in their faces, both in Europe and among the Israeli public".
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