Canadian court reverses settlement product labeling requirement

Written by on May 9, 2021

Products of Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria can be labeled “made in Israel” for sale in Canada, after Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that would have required settlement product labeling.

The court determined that a lower court decision was made improperly and is not binding. Rather, the decision should go back to Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which had previously allowed wines made by Jews in Judea and Samaria to be labeled products of Israel.

The Canadian Federal Court ruled in 2019 that such labels are “false, misleading and deceptive,” following a petition against the CFIA by David Kattenburg, a freelance writer and science teacher who has called Israel an apartheid state.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, President of Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization plans to submit information to the CFIA as it reassesses the matter.

“CIJA believes that current labeling practices are fully consistent with the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, as well as Canadian and international law,” Fogel said. “We know this case is part of a broader campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli goods. Until there is a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, wines produced under the authority and regulatory framework of Israel should be labeled accordingly.”

Psagot Winery, which is in the West Bank, was a respondent in the case. Its CEO Yaakov Berg said the wines “are made in Israel by an Israeli company that pays Israeli taxes and is subject to Israeli law. I am glad the Canadian Court of Appeals recognized the unreasonableness of denying them the right to include their country of origin on their bottles.”

The Lawfare Project and its partner firm RE-LAW LLP, represented Psagot Winery.

RE-LAW LLP Partner David Elmaleh said “consumer product labels exist to protect consumers. Weaponizing label requirements for political attacks against Jewish-owned businesses is not just a commercial threat to the targeted businesses, it also undermines trust in consumer safety information.”

Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein said “this decision once again aligns US and Canadian labeling of products, allowing Psagot to export wine to North America without the commercial challenge of navigating a patchwork of arbitrary and discriminatory rules.

“Make no mistake,” Goldstein added: “anyone who wants to treat a Jewish-owned business differently than a Muslim- or christian-owned business located in the same territory is promulgating a racist policy.”

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