Background of the Settlement Wine Case

psagot-winery.jpgDr. David Kattenburg, a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba and the son of holocaust survivors, formally complained in late March 2017 to the CFIA about the sale of "settlement wine" products at outlets of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Settlement wines are labelled as "Product of Israel" but are actually made in illegal settlements located in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In response to Kattenburg's complaint, in early July, the CFIA issued a directive instructing the LCBO to remove falsely labelled wine products from their shelves. Accordingly, on July 11, the LCBO directed its wine vendors to discontinue the sale of two wine products until further notice. Within days of the LCBO's directive, the CFIA - under intense pressure from pro-Israel lobbyists - reversed its ruling.  The CFIA's rationale for its flip-flop was that, under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), "Israel" is defined as wherever Israeli customs law is in force, and its customs law extends into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Furthermore, the CFIA seems to be arguing that CIFTA trumps both domestic consumer protection laws and international laws the Canadian government is obligated to enforce, but opts not to.

On August 6, Dr. Kattenburg formally appealed the CFIA's Reversal Decision in a submission. Six weeks later, on September 29, the CFIA's Complaints & Appeals Office informed  Kattenburg that the CFIA stands by its July 13 decision to reverse its original July 11 directive and to allow settlement wines to be sold on Canadian stores shelves, bearing the current label "Made in Israel".

On October 24, Kattenburg through his lawyer, Dimitri Lascaris, submitted an application  for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada regarding the CFIA's decision to permit the importation and sale in Canada of wines produced entirely within unlawful Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after ruling against the compliance of the products. The respondents in this filing are Canada's Minister of Health, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of International Trade.

pickers.jpgDr. Kattenburg is requesting the following relief from the Federal Court of Canada:

1. An order declaring unlawful the CFIA’s decision to permit the importation and sale in Canada of Settlement Wines labelled as “Product of Israel”;

2. An order declaring that neither the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) nor the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act authorizes products made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to be labelled as “Product of Israel”;

3. An order declaring that, insofar as Settlement Wines are labelled as “Product of Israel,” Settlement Wines violate section 5(1) of Canada's Food and Drugs Act;

4. An order declaring that, insofar as Settlement Wines are labelled as “Product of Israel,” Settlement Wines violate section 7 of Canada's Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act;

5.  An order declaring that the CFIA’s decision to permit the importation and sale in Canada of Settlement Wines labelled as “Product of Israel” violates Canada's Geneva Conventions Act, as well as Canada’s obligations as a party to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations Charter.

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