Board president Jonathan Arkush urges EU: 'Focus on fighting extremism, not labelling products from settlements'


Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush has called on the European Union to focus on fighting extremism instead of labelling products from Israeli settlements.

In the wake of multiple terror attacks in Paris on Friday which killed 129 people and injured hundreds more, Mr Arkush also warned the community not to think ill of all Muslims.

Last week, the EU agreed to an "indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967," including the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

Speaking at the Board plenary on Sunday, the president said: "Europe needs to wake up to the threat, and dare I say it, concentrate on the real threat, instead of focusing on ways of making life more difficult for Israel in ridiculous forms like the EU labelling plan."

Mr Arkush added that if deputies saw labelled products from settlements, they should "buy them. Buy them. Empty the shelves."

During an impassioned speech which opened the meeting, the president said that it was "not easy to find the words to express our horror and anxiety, our utter disgust and condemnation at the slaughter Paris endured on Friday night."

But he pledged that "no act of terror will alter our way of life and determination to maintain the liberal, fair, free enjoyment of life that we hold dear in this country.

"We will remain resolute in our determination to oppose all extremism. We will not let ourselves fall victim to emotive reactions such as blaming every Muslim. We will also stand by Israel, the only country of democracy and equal rights in a region of turbulence."

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