(JTA) – Labelling a wine from the West Bank as a “Product of Israel” is misleading and deceptive, the Federal Court of Canada ruled.
The court on Monday ordered the Canada Food Inspection Agency to review how the wines should be labelled.
The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by pro-Palestinian activist David Kattenburg of Winnipeg, who describes himself in the document as “the Jewish child of Holocaust survivors” and who says that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not part of Israel.
The court agreed, saying, “Whatever the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank may be, all of the parties and interveners agree that the settlements in issue in this case are not part of the State of Israel. Consequently, labelling the settlement wines as ‘Products of Israel’ is both inaccurate and misleading.”
The country’s Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act requires that food products, including wines, which are sold in Canada “bear truthful, non-deceptive and non-misleading country of origin labels.”
Israel has argued in similar labelling disputes that such moves are unusual and discriminatory, in that they single out Israel among hundreds of territorial disputes around the world.
Following a complaint by Kattenburg in 2017, the CFIA determined the labels on wines from the Psagot Winery and the Shiloh Winery were misleading and in violation of federal law.
Following an outcry from Jewish groups and vendors, the agency reversed its decision. So Kattenburg took it to court.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) released a statement calling on the federal government to appeal the court ruling.
“Following a preliminary review of the court’s ruling, CIJA believes there are substantive errors in the judgment. Current labelling practices are fully consistent with the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, as well as Canadian and international law. This is why we are urging the Government of Canada to appeal this misguided ruling,” said CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. “In the event of an appeal, CIJA will be consulting with legal experts and seeking intervenor status to ensure Canadian and international law are properly interpreted and applied.”
The Ottawa Jewish Bulletin contributed to this report.