In Canadian Politics, Human Rights, Middle East

October 25, 2017

Dr. David Kattenburg, a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has launched a proceeding in the Federal Court of Canada challenging the importation and sale of fraudulently labeled “Product of Israel” wines.

An application for judicial review was filed in Toronto on October 24 regarding a decision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to permit the importation and sale in Canada of wines produced entirely within unlawful Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. 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.

Dr. Kattenburg — the son of holocaust survivors — complained in late March to the CFIA about the sale of settlement wine products at outlets of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). In response to Kattenburg’s complaint, in early July, the CFIA instructed the LCBO to remove falsely labeled 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 — under intense pressure from the Israeli government and its Canadian lobbyists — the CFIA reversed itself. The rationale for the CFIA flip-flop, clearly originating from the highest levels of the Trudeau government, was that the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (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 appealed the CFIA’s Reversal Decision. On September 28, the CFIA’s Complaints & Appeals Office informed Kattenburg that the CFIA stands by its decision to allow settlement wines to be sold on Canadian stores shelves.

The CFIA is standing by its self-reversal, even though the “Product of Israel” indication of origin on settlement wines is false and misleading, and the very production of the wines is in grievous violation of international law, which the government of Canada is duty bound to uphold.

Accordingly, Dr. Kattenburg is now taking the Canadian government to court. Although a wide variety of products produced in illegal Jewish settlements are available to Canadian consumers, the legality of their importation and sale — bearing the patently false label “Product of Israel” — has never been challenged in court.

Dr. 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.

Media organizations are welcome to review Dr. Kattenburg’s Federal Court filing. Copies will be provided upon request.

Background information on Dr. Kattenburg’s opposition to the sale of falsely labeled “Product of Israel” wines can be found here:

All media inquiries regarding Dr. Kattenburg’s filing, today, in the Federal Court of Canada, should be directed to Dr. Kattenburg’s lawyer, Dimitri Lascaris. Mr. Lascaris can be reached by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (519) 851-5991.

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  • Yasmin Asgarali

    How encouraging and uplifting to see this! I am grateful (as I am sure are many others) that Dr. Kattenburg has the courage and commitment to fight, and to you as well, Mr. Lascaris. A heartfelt thanks to you both.

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