The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a government body, has banned wines from Judea and Samaria because, it says, the label – Products of Israel – is “unacceptable” for wines produced in “occupied territory.
The peculiar announcement – which was subsequently and suddenly reversed– sent shockwaves through a country where many citizens are already questioning the agenda of the government, particularly following the recent pay-out of $10,500,000 to jihadist Omar Khadr and an apology for his interrogation at Guantanamo, and the sending of Sharia-supporting Member of Parliament Omar Alghabra to an Organization of Islamic Cooperation session to “raise and advance our core values, including human rights, freedom, democratic governance and the rule of law.”
These troubling events follow other puzzling trends, including the passing of “anti-Islamophobia” motion M-103, which was introduced by Iqra Khalid, a former president of the Muslim Student Association at York, who received a red-carpet welcome from Palestine House, an organization known for its support of the Palestinian al-Quds Intifada. Anti-Islamophobia motions have also been passed in Ontario, while unwarranted Islamophobia charters –pushed by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (formerly CAIR-CAN) — exist in six major cities across Canada. Also, an Islamophobia hotline was set up last January. Canada is also now committed to “restoring relations with Iran and reopening the respective embassies closed in 2012 in Ottawa and Tehran was a Liberal promise during the 2015 election.”
Of course, these developments are spun to mean that Canada is friendly, multicultural and pursuing a partnership with Iran to further business opportunities in Canada. Hopes run high that Canadians will be ignorant of or forget the fact that the most targeted groups for discrimination remain blacks and Jews, not Muslims, and that they will also forget why the Iranian Embassy was shut down in the first place: because of the expansion of Iran’s fifth column and malignant political interests.
Now the big elephant in the room are these questions: why on earth was an order to boycott Israeli wines launched in the first place? Who sanctioned it? Had it not been for the outcry that followed, would that directive have stuck?
The news that Canada was boycotting Israeli wines from “occupied territory” represented yet another attempt to undermine Canada’s democratic foundations in favor of Islamic supremacist propaganda and doctrine; this time, it was a move that was part of the ongoing attempt to demonize and punish Israel for its very existence. World Israel News covered the deluge of disbelief from Canadians and organizations that support the rights of the democratic state of Israel, and also fully recognize the jihadist agenda against the Jewish state. Among those voices was my own:
“I am appalled by this official, written order to boycott Israeli wine by signatory Vincent Caron on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA has openly attempted to delegitimize the State of Israel. Its statement that the ‘Government of Canada does not recognize Israel sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967’ is shocking. It fails to recognize Israel’s need to defend itself, its obligatory actions stemming from an ongoing defensive war and it further emboldens the historic jihadist agenda to obliterate the Jewish state. The letter also contravenes the Ottawa Protocol, an action plan developed in 2010 under the Harper government at the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism attended by 50 nations…..This letter requires urgent correction or retraction by the Government of Canada to distance itself from this overtly hostile attack against the democratic State of Israel.”
It so happens that the day after the announcement was made, the Government of Canada (for reasons unknown) retracted its decision to boycott Israeli wines from the so-called “occupied territory,” with the promise that “the CFIA will be following up with the LCBO to correct our original response.”
Although many breathed a sigh of relief, the mere fact that this directive was issued in the first place is troubling. Many email inboxes — including my own — filled up with speculations about what message the Canadian government had been trying to send out, despite its rapid about-face. It was happy news that Canada reversed its boycott of Israeli wines, but still an unnerving chain of events, particularly in light of the ongoing pattern in Canada in its dealings with Islamic interests.
“Canada bans Israeli wines produced in ‘occupied territory’”, by Atara Beck, World Israel News, July 13, 2017:
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a government body, has banned wines from Judea and Samaria because, it says, the label – Products of Israel – is “unacceptable” for wines produced in “occupied territory.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has ordered the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to prohibit vendors from selling wines produced in Judea and Samaria because they are labelled as products of Israel.
In a letter dated July 11, 2017, Vincent Caron, the LCBO’s senior policy adviser, informed vendors that the CFIA had instructed them on July 6 that “Product of Israel” – as these wines are labelled – “would not be an accepting 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.”
According to the letter, “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). As such, wine products from these regions that are labelled as ‘Products of Israel’ would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading… LCBO is currently working with CFIA on an action plan to ensure compliance with the notification going forward.”
The letter specifically named the award-winning Psagot and Shiloh wineries.
“I am requesting that all vendors discontinue any importation of sales or products labelled as ‘Product of Israel’ from the wineries named above (or other located in the same regions), until further notice. We are currently seeking clarifications from the CFIA on how such wine should be labelled in order to comply with the Food and Drugs Act,” the letter concluded.
A ‘Hostile Attack’ on the State of Israel
Christine Williams, Public Affairs and Media consultant with the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem-Canada and past adviser to the former Office of Religious Freedom (Canada), was outraged by the CFIA decision. Williams, who is on the Board of Advisers for the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow and author of The Challenge of Modernizing Islam, told World Israel News:
“I am appalled by this official, written order to boycott Israeli wine by signatory Vincent Caron on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA has openly attempted to delegitimize the State of Israel. Its statement that the ‘Government of Canada does not recognize Israel sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967’ is shocking. It fails to recognize Israel’s need to defend itself, its obligatory actions stemming from an ongoing defensive war and it further emboldens the historic jihadist agenda to obliterate the Jewish state.
“The letter also contravenes the Ottawa Protocol, an action plan developed in 2010 under the Harper government at the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism attended by 50 nations,” she added. “This letter requires urgent correction or retraction by the Government of Canada to distance itself from this overtly hostile attack against the democratic State of Israel.”
Yaakov Berg, owner and founder of Psagot Winery, said, “We have returned home to our homeland, the place where our ancestors made wine continuing in the same place this ancient tradition. Amazing that this is said by the Canadian government as illegal. We live here in Judea and Samaria under historical rights. Specifically Canada, a country founded and expanded as it conquered and destroyed the homeland of another people, a country with no roots or historical validity of its existence there, questions the right of Jews to live and grow vineyards in the land of our forefathers.”
What Inspired this Decision?
World Israel News contacted CFIA Wednesday morning, asking why they took such a harsh measure rather than discussing new labelling.
Also, how did this issue come to the fore? Were there complaints from customers?
The agency’s media relations immediately acknowledged the query, initially responding, “I have passed on your questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.”
By the end of the day, CFIA sent another email, saying, “We are currently working on responding to your questions and will hopefully get back to you in the next few hours.”
By the next day, there was still no clarification.
The LCBO, also questioned, reiterated what was written in their letter, saying that it “received notification from CFIA that ‘Product of Israel’ would not be an acceptable country of origin declaration for two wine products. While seeking clarification from CFIA on how these wines should be labelled to meet the Federal requirements, LCBO promptly notified stakeholders who might be affected by this direction. Questions regarding this decision or compliance with Federal labelling requirements should be directed to CFIA.”
‘Why is this a Focus of the CFIA?’
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, Senior Rabbi of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto congregation, one of the largest orthodox synagogues in North American, told WIN:
“It seems to me overly punitive to ban the sales of these wines. What would have been more reasonable is to institute a standard policy for all products sold from Judea-Samaria as far as how Canada wants the items to be labeled. Also, why is this a focus of the CFIA when there are so many other issues revolving around imported foods that are troublesome?”
Indeed, as revealed on CFIA’s website and often publicized in the media, the agency constantly contends with dangerous health issues, such as the recalling of products due to possible salmonella or listeria contamination.
‘Very Sinister, Dangerously Developing Iceberg’
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, spiritual leader of Chabad Flamingo in Thornhill, just north of Toronto, commented on Facebook: “Does this sound like the start of boycotting Jewish businesses in Germany in the early 1930’s to you? It does to me. This may be the tip of a very sinister, dangerously developing iceberg. Not a joking matter at all.”
In a statement to the media, Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a media statement, saying the organization was “contesting this apparent policy change with LCBO and the CFIA, which is seemingly initiating this action.
“We have already contacted the CFIA directly to register our protest as well as the LCBO. We consider any action which promotes the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as antisemitic. This would be out of step with the existing government policy which has vigorously condemned the BDS campaign….