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Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) withdraws from event promoting Israeli settlement wine

JETRO staff called Palestine Forum Japan and informed them that JETRO would be withdrawing from the event

The Israeli embassy in Japan had been planning to hold «the Israel Wine Seminar» on 30 November 2016 at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Osaka office according to the embassy’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account.At the time of writing, the embassy’s website still lists the original planned event, including the list of the attending Israeli wineries, some of which are located in or use grapes from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank or the Golan Heights: http://itrade.gov.il/japan/wine_2016/

When Palestine Forum Japan (PFJ) and allied human rights activists became aware of the event they called for protest action in front of the JETRO Osaka office at the opening of the event. At the same time, Palestine Forum Japan sent a fax to JETRO on November 28, demanding that they not provide their facilities for the promotion of illegal settlement businesses. Palestine Forum Japan also asked the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry(METI) to tell JETRO, which is under the jurisdiction of Ministry, to withdraw their participation from the event. On November 29, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry informed Palestine Forum Japan that the Ministry had «advised» JETRO of the significant legal and moral risks associated with promoting illegal settlement businesses as outlined by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This morning JETRO staff called Palestine Forum Japan and informed us that JETRO would be withdrawing from the event and the event would not be going ahead at JETRO’s facilities, although JETRO staff refused to confirm that the decision was made in response to evaluation of the risks associated with doing business with illegal settlement enterprises. Members of Palestine Forum Japan confirmed the JETRO’s withdrawal from the event at JETRO Osaka office today. It is currently unclear whether the event was shifted to a new location or cancelled entirely.

Palestine Forum Japan appreciates the principled and sensible decision taken by JETRO and requests that JETRO adopt a clear policy in line with international law not to cooperate with the illegal settlement businesses and other businesses that support Israel’s illegal occupation.


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