Allegrini 2018

Canada, the Court held that the words “made in Israel” on wine from the West Bank were “misleading”

The judgement for two wines produced in Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory: “prevents consumers from expressing political opinions”

Eating and drinking is always a political act, at least in the choice to buy certain products, certain brands or from certain countries. And the Federal Court of Canada has reiterated that this is a basic right for Canadian consumers, as it is an extension of the freedom to express political ideas. The triggering case, although not new, is that of wine from Israel, labelled as “produced in Israel”, but actually produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian territory. As you can read on the La Revue du Vin de France website, the name on the label was accepted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because it technically met the guidelines of the details of free trade between Canada and Israel; but the decision of the Acia was overturned by the Federal Court, which defined it as “false and misleading”. “Opponents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank - explains magistrate Anne Mactavish, justifying her decision - need accurate information on the origin of a product in order to express their opposition. The identification of wines as Israeli products prevents consumers from expressing their political opinions through their purchasing choices, limiting their fundamental freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter “Canadian constitutional rights and freedoms”. Consequently - continues Mactavish - the Court concluded that the Israeli labels of these wines are false and misleading and that they interfere with the ability of Canadian consumers to make informed, rational and conscientious purchasing decisions”.
As already mentioned, the measure against this wording on the label is not the first: in 2016, in France, the Ministry of Economy wanted to add the phrase “Israeli colony” on both wines and food products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Golan hills, occupied since 1967.

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