(JNS) Together with 24 pro-Israel Jewish and rabbinic groups, the Zionist Organization of America spearheaded a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday, March 8, urging him to maintain the current U.S. policy of labeling goods from Judea and Samaria as “Made in Israel.” “This is not just a matter of some technical regulations in the Federal Register,” said the 11-page letter. “Real people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. We would thus be happy to arrange for you to visit the Jewish communities, families, businesses and farms in Areas C and H2 so that you can see for yourself the real people who would be harmed if you rescind the current labeling regulations.” The letter provided historical, legal, legislative and moral background information that explains why the current regulations should not be changed. It also included the assertion that the policy is “essential” for combating antisemitic discrimination and boycotts against Jewish products “made in the historic Jewish homelands of Judea and Samaria.” The policy adopted by the U.S. State Department on Nov. 19 states that products manufactured in Israeli-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, or West Bank, should be labeled as “Israel,” “Product of Israel” or “Made in Israel” when exported to the United States.
The pro-Israel organizations also tried to appeal to Mayorkas on a “personal note,” saying: “We hope that your background as a Jew, as an immigrants’ rights activist and as the child of a mother [who] had to flee from Nazi-occupied Romania and Fidel Castro’s Cuba has given you compassion and consideration for your fellow co-religionists, and that you will not revert to the boycott facilitating regulations that were ultimately aimed at turning 500,000 Jews into refugees from their own historic homeland.”
The letter counteracts a request in February by six left-wing Jewish organizations to rescind the current regulations.
Main Photo: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas. Courtesy: Orthodox Union.