The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has ordered stores in the province to remove Israeli wines manufactured at two wineries of the West Bank from their shelves as they are labeled “Product of Israel” and not marked as “Product of the West Bank.”
According to a letter obtained by B’nai Brith Canada, dated July 11, the LCBO requested that wine vendors “discontinue any importation or sales” of wines marked “Product of Israel” and manufactured east of the Green Line, in light of a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) decision defining this as a “misleading” sales practice.
Israel refers to the areas of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, the names the regions held in ancient times.
The LCBO letter stated that the CFIA had issued a clarification regarding wines from the Psagot and Shiloh wineries which stated that “Product of Israel” was not an acceptable country of origin description for “wine products that have been made from grapes fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory.”
Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada said he expected this “this disturbing decision to be corrected in short order.”
Wines from the Shiloh and Psagot wineries were no longer in stock in the LCBO system on Wednesday, according to B’nai Brith Canada, and appeared to be unavailable in other provinces as well.
Mostyn called on Canadians to purchase Israeli wine, “in order to demonstrate solidarity and friendship with the democratic State of Israel.”
“Please mention the Shiloh and Psagot wines you would like to see on store shelves to liquor store employees,” he wrote.
Ya’akov Berg, CEO of the award-winning Psagot winery north of Jerusalem said in response to the Canadian directive: “We have returned to our homeland, to the place where our forefathers prepared wine and we are continuing an age-old tradition. Canada of all places – a country founded on the ruins of the birthplace of another nation and without any roots or historical justification for its existence – does not recognise (sic) the rights of Jews to grow grapes in the land of our forefathers.”