Canadian Court: West Bank Wine Cannot be Labeled ‘Product of Israel’
Canada’s Federal Court has ruled that wine manufactured in Jewish communities in the West Bank could no longer be labeled as a “Product of Israel.” A member of Winnipeg’s Jewish community originally filed a complaint in 2017 with the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency, which ruled in his favor and subsequently removed from stores wines produced in Shiloh and Psagot. After pressure from a pro-Israel lobby group, Ottawa called for an immediate reversal of the decision, which was indeed overturned and the wines were again made available to consumers. This led to an appeal with the Federal Court, which determined that such labels were “false, misleading and deceptive” and, therefore, “contravene[d] the requirements of subsection 7(1) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling [Ed. – Canadian spelling of the word] Act and subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act.” The presiding judge noted in her decision that the Canadian government does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim as part of a future state. In response, critics of the ruling highlighted that the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement spans all “territor[ies] where the customs laws of Israel are applied,” which includes the West Bank.