Prominent among its attributes is the state of Israel’s ability to cause offence. Remember the Jaffa Orange plot? I’ll refresh your memory. A few boxes of oranges, labelled ‘Jaffa Sweetie Israel PO’, which apparently emanated from China via Dubai, were discovered on sale in Tehran, despite a vigorously enforced trade embargo with Israel. In next to no time, the Iranian authorities claimed to have uncovered an imperialist/Zionist plot aiming to destabilise the status quo shortly before a crucial general election. Various suspicious ‘importers’ are now being detained, sine die.
Now another dastardly plot has come to light, this time featuring UK supermarkets as the heinous co-conspirators. It seems that fruit, wine and cosmetics masquerading as Palestinian under a “West Bank” label have actually been sourced from illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories. To add insult to injury, these settlements are also benefiting from preferential trade agreements with Britain which apply to commerce conducted only within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. A range of authorities, spanning the Office of Fair Trading, Defra and the Revenue, are poring over the matter at great public expense. It is believed by some that new EU rules on labelling will bring clarity to the situation. Some hope.