Canada Lifts Ban on Yehudah and Shomron Wines

by Zachary Kerman/TPS

Canada has lifted a ban on selling wines from Yehudah and Shomron marked as made in Israel, just two days after putting it in place.

On Thursday, July 13, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said it had lifted a directive that wine products classified as a “Product of Israel” would be deemed unauthorized for sale as long as their production originated from the West Bank. In the wake of the July 11 directive, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) instructed vendors to take products from the Psagot and Shiloh wineries off their shelves.

The CFIA stated on its website that it “regrets the outcome of the wine labeling assessment which led to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) response regarding products from two wineries labeled as “Product of Israel.” In our assessment, we did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA).”

“Further clarification of the CIFTA (Article 1.4.1b) indicates that these wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labeled. The CFIA will be following up with the LCBO to correct our original response.”

B’nai Brith Canada, which originally revealed the LBO letter, commended the Canadian government for its quick rescinding of the ban.

“We thank the Government of Canada for responding so quickly to the legitimate concerns of the Jewish community and all concerned Canadians,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We will continue to make inquiries about the origin of this travesty,  to ensure that nothing like ever happens again. B’nai Brith will always relentlessly advocate for our community.”

Mostyn said that since calling on Canadians from coast to coast to purchase Israeli wines in opposition to the ban, B’nai Brith has been “simply overwhelmed by positive responses from members of the community. In celebration of the CFIA’s apology for its disturbing decision, we ask all Canadians, in every province and territory, to head to your local liquor retailer and order products from the Shiloh and Psagot Wineries. These Israeli wine producers especially deserve all of our support at this time.”

On a visit to the Psagot winery on Sunday morning, Minister of Economy Eli Cohen (Kulanu) told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) boycotts harm no one other than the Palestinians.

“If you want to see coexistence in action then I invite you to the industrial areas here in Sha’ar Binyamin, in Mishor Adumin, in Barkan and elsewhere [in Yehudah and Shomron] to see coexistence in action. I would like to thank our Canadian friends who understood the importance of working for coexistence,” Cohen said.

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