By BERNIE BELLAN
The ruling by a Federal Court of Canada judge that wines produced on the West Bank of Israel cannot be labeled “Product of Israel” could have much greater ramifications for a wide range of products beyond wines that are currently exported to Canada under the “Product of Israel” label.
I wondered why David Kattenburg, who is the individual who first brought up the issue of the labeling of wines produced by the “Psagot” and Shiloh” wineries as “Product of Israel” when they are, in fact, produced on the West Bank, which is occupied territory, hadn’t included wines from the Golan Heights in his initial complaint to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario?
So, I asked Kattenburg why he hadn’t included wines produced on the Golan Heights, which is also technically occupied territory, in his complaint to the Ontario Liquor Control Board?
Kattenburg responded: “Good question about the Golan wines. I do believe they're all labeled ‘Product of Israel.’ They should be labeled ‘Product of [Israeli-occupied] Golan Heights.’ “
I then asked him: “So, why didn't you include them in your complaint - not that I'm trying to encourage you to do that. I was just curious: Was it just an oversight?”
Kattenburg responded: “No, I just jumped on the Shiloh and Psagot. I'd spotted them at the LCBO's website, and pursued it.
“With this ruling, it seems clear to me that all settlement and Golan wines will need to be truthfully labeled, as will Jordan Valley Medjool dates, Ahava cosmetic products produced at Dead Sea sites within the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territory), etc. All Israeli products produced in the OPT will need to be labeled as such.”
As a result of Kattenburg’s suggestion that the list of products that might require different labeling now if they are to be exported to Canada, I sent queries to others who might be expected to comment on what Kattenburg wrote to me.
If I do receive responses from those various parties, I’ll update this story.