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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/4/19

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Defends Oppressors, Victimizes the Oppressed

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Republished from Dimitri Lascaris.org


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[See Previous Article: "Trudeau Government Allows Wines Produced in Israel's Illegal West Bank Settlements to be Fraudulently Labelled"]

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As I previously reported, Canada's Federal Court ruled in July 2019 that "product of Israel" labels on wines produced in Israel's West Bank settlements are "false, misleading and deceptive."

The basis of the Court's ruling was simple and unassailable: the international community including Canada's own government agrees that the West Bank is not part of Israel. As the Court was advised, the West Bank is not part of Israel even under Israel's own domestic laws.

Quite apart from these considerations, the settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitute a war crime.

As a high contracting party of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Canada has an obligation to ensure Israel's respect for its provisions. By allowing settlement producers to misrepresent that their wines are "product of Israel," the Trudeau government has facilitated Israel's theft of Palestinian land and has flouted its obligations under international law.

Now, in a remarkable and perverse turn of events, Canadian authorities are using the Federal Court's decision to victimize oppressed Palestinians.

Earlier this year, Palestine Just Trade Incorporated (PJTI), a Canadian corporation for which I am legal counsel, arranged for delivery into Canada of certain wines and beers produced in the West Bank by Taybeh Brewing Company. Taybeh is based in Ramallah in the West Bank, which is formally under the control of the Palestinian Authority. None of Taybeh's products are produced in Israel's illegal settlements. Its products are labelled as "Product of Palestine."

Virtually the entire international community including Canada's government regards the West Bank as occupied Palestinian territory. Moreover, the vast majority of states representing the vast majority of the human population have recognized Palestine as a state. Canada's government has not done so, but by repeatedly endorsing the two-state solution, Canada's government has purported for decades to support the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.

Earlier this year, with the approval of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), PJTI imported into Canada Taybeh products bearing "Product of Palestine" labels for sale in LCBO stores and through private orders, but before the LCBO began offering the Taybeh products for sale, and before PJTI began delivery of Taybeh products to those who had made private orders, two LCBO official's informed Taybeh that the products had been placed on hold due to the Federal's Court's decision:


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The LCBO's hold on Taybeh products is indefensible for at least three reasons.

First, before the Federal Court rendered its decision in July 2019, the LCBO approved the "Product of Palestine" labels affixed to the imported Taybeh products, as is clear from this LCBO certificate. The LCBO delivered this certificate to PJTI prior to the Federal Court's decision. Section 3 of the certificate states "Country of Origin Declaration: No problem identified," while section 7 of the certificate states "Label Review Results - Result: No problem identified."

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Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist and activist.

After graduating from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, Dimitri began his legal career at the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, first working from (more...)
 

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