July 24, 2017

Canada Latest to Politicize Israeli Food Products

New York - Israel is no stranger to boycotts of its products, long a target of the Arab League and of late the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement. The effort to “hurt” Israeli manufacturers who produce in the West Bank ironically is at the expense of the many Palestinian workers who are employed in those plants. Surprisingly, none other than the Canadian Government has jumped into the fray. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario recently ordered wine vendors to stop selling wines labeled as “Product of Israel” if they are manufactured in the West Bank. The two wineries, Psagot and Shiloh, located in the suburbs of Jerusalem were put on notice by the Canadian authorities. The Canadian Government action caught the Kedem Group by surprise. As importers of the quality wines, Kedem has enjoyed a positive relationship with the LCBO. Also voicing its disappointment was the B’nai Brith Canada, which said that it believes the CFIA “will soon rescind its recent decision to order the removal of certain Israeli wines from store shelves.”

Remarkably, Israeli sources told Kosher Today that the BDS movement has had little impact on sales of Israeli foods abroad. In fact, Israeli food exports continue to experience double-digit growth. They also do not expect any pushback from the recent Canadian action. One Israeli government source said that it was sad that the Canadians decided to “use food as a way of presenting their policy on the Middle East.”