French government suspends discriminatory product-labeling requirement due to Lawfare Project lawsuit

Earlier this month, French authorities announced the suspension of a discriminatory and politicized labeling requirement imposed on Israeli products, pending a decision by the European Court of Justice. The requirement mandated that products from the West Bank and Golan Heights be labeled with the designation “colonies israéliennes” (“Israeli colonies”, referring to the settlements). The suspension was prompted by a lawsuit commenced by The Lawfare Project in 2017 against the French Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance.

The Lawfare Project's initial action was brought before the Conseil d'État (Council of State, France's highest court) on behalf of Psâgot Winery LTD, an Israeli vineyard whose European distributors are subject to the labeling rules. Psâgot is being represented by revered law firm Cabinet Briard.

In May 2018, the Conseil d'État referred two questions—narrow but central to the landmark case—to the European Court of Justice for its opinion, expected to be issued in Fall 2019.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, said: “We are glad the French government will not be applying its discriminatory and unlawful policies, pending the outcome of the case. However, we should not have reached this point in the first place, where an Israeli company must rely on European courts to enforce basic economic rights. The entire issue could easily have been rendered moot had the French government announced that the policy—which clearly contradicts EU and French trade laws—would be suspended indefinitely.”