Montreal, July 13, 2017 — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a warning concerning the mislabelling of wines from Israeli colonies (aka “settlements”) as products of Israel. CFIA clarified that these grapes are “grown, fermented, processed, blended, and finished in the West Bank occupied territory,” – territories never attributed or recognized as being part of Israel proper. Following the CFIA report, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) discontinued the importation of these mislabelled wines, with remaining bottles to be removed from store shelves. CJPME commends CFIA for its decision to ensure rigor, transparency, and compliance in regards to the labeling of wines coming from the Middle East, specifically the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT.)
CFIA highlighted that “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.)” CJPME President Thomas Woodley added, “Canadian institutions should not legitimize companies operating and trading illegally inside military occupied land. By refusing to approve such trade, Canada upholds its own legal obligations, and also stands to make a humanitarian difference in the lives of Palestinian civilians living under occupation.”
CJPME points out that UN Security Council resolution 2334 (December 2016) called on Israel to cease all settlement activities in the OPT. The resolution furthermore called on all member states to distinguish in all their dealings between the state of Israel and OPT, since colonial infrastructure and enterprises on occupied territory are illegal.
Since 2015, the European Union has issued labeling guidelines for products imported from Israeli colonies based in the OPT. However, in accordance with international law, many Palestinians have called for a complete boycott of any business or institution participating “directly or indirectly” in the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories. CJPME, for its part, recommends that Canada suspend the import of products produced illegally by Israeli companies operating out of the West Bank.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact Miranda Gallo, 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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