“"…I believe our products will continue to flow into Russia. It will be easier to deal with us, it will be cheaper and more stable, and with no political price tag for what you do and what you don’t."
Above: Yair Shamir
Israel To Sell Russia Produce No Matter How Many Sanctions The West Levies Against It, Israel’s Ag Minister Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
European Union sanctions levied against Russia for its mini invasion of Ukraine won’t stop Israel from exporting produce to Russia, Israel’s right-wing Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir reportedly told Russian media earlier this month, Ha'aretz reported.
It won’t matter if Israel is pressured by the EU to stop exports to Russia, Shamir added.
Shamir – the son of Israel’s former right-wing Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir – said Israel was taking this position because of the EU’s boycott of produce produced by West Bank Jewish settlements.
Russia stopped importing EU produce in response to EU financial sanctions levied at Russia over the Ukraine invasion, and Shamir told Russian media that Israel was interested in filling that void.
“First of all I don’t feel [pressure] and I don’t see it. Take into account that lately the Europeans have been putting some boycotts on our products. So [is that] how it goes? They put a boycott on us and we will not help somebody else? They can’t. They can’t on the one hand stop [Israeli] sales to Europe, and on the other [ask us to] stop sales to Russia. That doesn’t work together. They have to decide,” Shamir reportedly said.
Shamir also called the EU sanctions against Russia an opportunity for Israel, and reportedly said Israel is ready to triple its agricultural exports to Russia.
Israel now exports $325 million in produce each year to Russia and would like to raise that to $1 billion annually.
“If [the EU would] come to us and say, ‘Well, we will not do any boycott [of settlement products], then maybe we can negotiate. But I don’t think the Israeli government will go for that. Even if the sanctions [on Russia] are reduced, I believe our products will continue to flow into Russia. It will be easier to deal with us, it will be cheaper and more stable, and with no political price tag for what you do and what you don’t,” Shamir said.
Shamir’s was interviewed by RIA Novosti, but his remarks were also published in English on the Russian government’s own news agency’s website. They were seen by senior EU officials in Brussels, who reportedly raised the issue with Israeli diplomats.
Israeli envoys in Brussels discussed Shamir’s remarks and the irritation they caused with senior Foreign Ministry officials Jerusalem. In turn, they met with senior Ministry of Agriculture officials and “told them that because of the sensitivity of the Ukraine issue and the ongoing talks with the EU about boycotting settlement products, it would be best to avoid such comments in the future,” Ha’aretz reported.
Shamir’s office issued a statement that essentially said Shamir would ignore anything the Foreign Ministry said about the situation and would continue to push produce sales to Russia despite its attempted rape of the Ukraine.
“The minister did not express an opinion, nor does he intend to intervene in the dispute between Russia and the European Union. The minister works to expand agricultural exports to Russia, just as he does in other markets to realize Israel’s economic potential. And he will continue to do so on a commercial basis, not on a diplomatic basis,” the statement reportedly said.