Ontario overturns Israeli wine ban

Wines from two Israeli estates have gone back on sale in the Canadian province of Ontario after a ruling earlier this week calling for their removal from shelves was overturned.

On Tuesday (11 July) this week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a ruling that wines labelled ‘Product of Israel’ were to be removed from shelves in Ontario if they could be traced to “occupied” territories such as the Golan Heights or the West Bank.

As a result, Ontario’s monopoly the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) told its stores to remove certain Israeli wines from sale, explicitly mentioning the Psagot and Shiloh wineries, which are based near Ramallah in the West Bank.

The LCBO explained in a letter that: “’Product of Israel’ would not be an acceptable country of origin declaration for wine products that have been made from grapes that are grown fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory.”

The move bought sharp criticism from Canadian Jewish groups and the Israeli embassy and was overturned on Thursday (13 July).

The CIFA said in a statement that it, “regrets the outcome of the wine labelling assessment which led to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) response regarding products from two wineries labelled as ‘Product of Israel’. In our assessment, we did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA).”

The CIFTA came into effect in 1997 and although Ontario as a province does not recognise the West Bank as a legitimate part of Israel, under the terms of the free trade agreement ‘Israel’ refers to any part of the country where Israeli customs laws are applied.

3 Responses to “Ontario overturns Israeli wine ban”

  1. Wendy Marshall says:

    Absolutely disgusting!! These guys go away with everything including insulting international law and illegaly ocupying lands.

  2. Stephen Brook says:

    Shameful action by the LCBO. Anyone who has visited the Golan Heights will easily understand why they are ‘occupied’. What other countries does the LCBO see fit to ban?

  3. Disgraceful politicing against a country surounded by 500 milion hostile people determined to wipe Isreal off thr face of the earth. Isreal’s “occupation” of these territories is purely in self dense against cowardly and unjustified aggression

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