Canadian court reverses settlement product labeling requirement

The court determined that a lower court decision was made improperly and is not binding.

Labels, including the words, " Wine from the land of Israel", are seen on wine bottles at Tura Winery in Rehelim (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Labels, including the words, " Wine from the land of Israel", are seen on wine bottles at Tura Winery in Rehelim
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Products of Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria can be labeled “Made in Israel” for sale in Canada, after Canada’s Federal Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling that would have required labeling of settlement products.

Last week, the court determined that a lower court’s decision was made improperly and was not binding. Rather, the decision should go back to Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which had previously allowed wines made by Jews in Judea and Samaria to be labeled products of Israel.
Such labels are “false, misleading and deceptive,” Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish ruled in 2019 following a petition against the CFIA by David Kattenburg, a freelance writer and science teacher who has called Israel an apartheid state.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, president of Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization plans to submit information to the CFIA as it reassesses the matter.
“CIJA believes that current labeling practices are fully consistent with the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, as well as Canadian and international law,” he said. “We know this case is part of a broader campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli goods. Until there is a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, wines produced under the authority and regulatory framework of Israel should be labeled accordingly.”
Psagot Winery, which is in the Binyamin Region of the West Bank, was a respondent in the case. Yaakov Berg, its founder and CEO, said the wines “are made in Israel by an Israeli company that pays Israeli taxes and is subject to Israeli law. I am glad the Canadian Court of Appeals recognized the unreasonableness of denying them the right to include their country of origin on their bottles.”
The Lawfare Project and its partner firm RE-LAW LLP represented Psagot Winery.
“Consumer product labels exist to protect consumers,” RE-LAW LLP partner David Elmaleh said. “Weaponizing label requirements for political attacks against Jewish-owned businesses is not just a commercial threat to the targeted businesses, it also undermines trust in consumer safety information.”
Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein said: “This decision once again aligns US and Canadian labeling of products, allowing Psagot to export wine to North America without the commercial challenge of navigating a patchwork of arbitrary and discriminatory rules.”
“Make no mistake, anyone who wants to treat a Jewish-owned business differently than a Muslim- or Christian-owned business located in the same territory is promulgating a racist policy,” she said.