In March 2019, Palestine Just Trade Incorporated (PJTI), a Canadian corporation, received approval from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) for the import of 5 types of beers and 5 varieties of wines from Taybeh Brewing Company, a Palestinian brewery based in Taybeh in the occupied West Bank. The labels for each of these ten Taybeh products were pre-approved before shipping by the LCBO on 28 March 2019. The label approvals included the product origin as “Product of Palestine.” PJTI explained to Al-Haq, that in May 2019, the Taybeh products were shipped along with a consolidated order from Haifa, which included goods labeled, “Product of Israel”. At the time, the shipment represented the first ever export of Taybeh products or any other Palestinian beer and wine into the Canadian market.
According to PTJI, the container of Taybeh beers and wines arrived in Canada on 16 July 2019, whereupon LCBO began the processing and testing of products, as per usual processes. On 2 August 2019, the Taybeh products were ready for sale to the Canadian market. However on 6 August, PJTI received a message that LCBO had placed the Taybeh products on hold, due a recent Federal Court decision, whereupon PJTI immediately notified Taybeh of the delay.
On 29 July 2019, the Federal Court of Canada ruled in Kattenburg vs. Attorney General of Canada, that illegal settlement products cannot be labeled as “Product of Israel” as Canadian law requires that consumers have accurate information to inform their purchasing decisions. Now following the ruling in this case, Canada has delayed the Taybeh imports for labeling assessment, even though these are legitimate Palestinian products. There is no indication that any Israeli products including those from settlements, illegal under international law and recognized as such by Canada, have been held for such assessments. On 6 September 2019, the Canada’s Attorney General initiated an appeal of federal court decision in Kattenberg.
On 27 August 2019, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) then informed legal counsel for PJTI that it was waiting on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for further instructions on labeling. PJTI and Taybeh continue to wait for a decision by the LCBO for release and/or relabeling of the Taybeh wine and beer.
1. Israel’s Deliberate Delays to Frustrate Taybeh Exports
Israel routinely delays and hinders the export of Palestinian products, impeding the development of Palestine’s export economy. Mr. Nadim Kanaan Daoud Khoury, the manager of Taybeh, described to Al-Haq, how Taybeh had “obtained the necessary licenses from the Palestinian Authority and from the Israeli authorities as we export through Israeli ports.” However, according to Mr. Khoury, the Israeli authorities had initially refused to mix “Product of Israel” goods with “Product of Palestine.”
2. Discriminatory Application of Canadian Law
The Canadian authorities have further unduly delayed the import of Palestinian Taybeh wines and beers, despite Palestinian Authority (PA) assurances to the CFIA, “that the Taybeh products that have been placed on hold have not been produced in any Israeli settlement.” Meanwhile, over 60 illegal settlement wines currently produced in the occupied Syrian Golan and the occupied Palestinian territory, yet labeled as “the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights or Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory” are being sold freely to consumers on the Canadian market,highlighting Canada’s discriminatory import practices and bias rationale against Palestinian products.
3. Legal Analysis
It must be noted that the State of Palestine, while not recognized by Canada, is internationally recognized as a non-member observer State of the United Nations and is party to over 60 international multilateral treaties. In addition, following the adoption of the Oslo Accords, Canada and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) entered the Joint Canadian-Palestinian Framework for Economic Cooperation and Trade Between Canada and the Palestine Liberation Organization on Behalf of the Palestinian Authority, in recognition that “economic development is essential to peace and stability”. In this vein, the Canadian government assures that “Palestinian exports to Canada benefit from preferential treatment offered in the 1997 Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA)” and the modernized CIFTA that came in place on September 1, 2019.
However, as a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Canada has an obligation to respect and ensure respect for the Convention. In addition, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2334 (2016), calls on States to distinguish in their dealings between the territory of the State of Israel and territories occupied in 1967. By allowing settlement producers to freely import goods labeled “the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights or Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory” and delaying the import of Palestinian products labeled as “Product of Palestine”; Canada is simply facilitating the theft of Palestinian land and validating it commercially, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UNSC resolution 2334, while denying Palestinian economic development.
Al-Haq calls on Canada to immediately release Taybeh wines and beers for import into the Canadian market without any further and undue delay, and further calls on Canada to take steps to not only ensure the accurate labeling of goods, but to prohibit the import of illegal settlement goods and services into the Canadian market, in compliance with international law.
Nadim Wine by Taybeh (2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Merlot, 2017 Syrah, 2018 Sauvignon Blac, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Grand Reserve)
Labels had been pre-approved by the LCBO. The product was made ready through the usual LCBO testing and administrative procedure; and on August 2, 2019 was ready to be released under the LCBO World Destination Program and to those who had made private orders.
Then on August 6, 2019, after the court ruling that wine from Israeli settlements could NOT be labeled as “product of Israel,” the LCBO contacted Palestine Just Trade, the exclusive agent for Taybeh in Canada to indicate the order of Taybeh wine and beer were being put on hold “due to the court ruling.”
Dimitri Lascaris who is acting as legal counsel for Palestine Just Trade wrote about this in a blog, “Canadian Food Inspection Agency Coddles the Oppressors, Victimizes the Oppressed.” Read the full details HERE.
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. The court case, which subsequently has been appealed by the Canadian government, has nothing to do with products from Palestine. It is specific to wines from Israeli settlements considered illegal under international law and according to Canadian policy.
Over the last several months, a number of people have contacted the LCBO and CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), however as far as we have heard, responses have not been received from either agency based on what people have indicated.
At this point, the Taybeh products continues to held by the LCBO, while Palestine Just Trade Inc. waits to hear if the product will be released.
You can read more about THE DISCRIMINATORY HOLD in the following articles:
The World Destination Program of the LCBO arranged to include five Nadim wines by Taybeh, and five varieties of Taybeh beer earlier this year. The product arrived in Canada, and was ready for release in early August when notification came that the product was being put on hold.
Earlier this month, just as shipments were ready to go to local LCBO stores for private order pick up, as well as to be put onto the e-commerce channel for offering through the LCBO World Destination Program, the LCBO informed Palestine Just Trade that “due to the recent decision by the Federal Court regarding labeling requirements for wines from this region, we have placed these products on hold.”
Today, August 28, 2019, Dimitri Lascaris, legal counsel for Palestine Just Trade sent a letter to the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and copied the LCBO on it. You can read the letter HERE. An accompanying list of alcohol products listed for sale in Canada with the label “product of Israel” that are known to be from Israeli settlements considered illegal by international law can be seen HERE.
In our letter today we indicated to the CFIA with copy to the LCBO that “we are at a loss to understand how the CFIA can continue to allow the sale of wines from territory occupied by Israel to be sold in Canada with false Product of Israel labels even as the LCBO prevents the sale of Taybeh products which are accurately labelled.” We indicated that “the manner in which the CFIA and LCBO are dealing with accurately labelled Taybeh products, and falsely labelled products from Israeli settlements in occupied territory is plainly discriminatory.”
Palestine Just Trade is excited to have joined with Taybeh to have made the first import of product to Canada, and look forward to Nadim wines by Taybeh and Taybeh beers being available for purchase for the first time in Canada very shortly.
Private orders in Ontario & Newfoundland now can be placed through Palestine Just Trade.
Available in Ontario through LCBO in the summer of 2019!
Taybeh Beer (Amber, Dark, Golden, IPA and White)
Nadim Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blac, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Grand Reserve)
Stay tuned for more details. Will be available by the bottle through the World Destinations e-commerce program for beers and wines.
Private orders in Ontario or Newfoundland can be placed now!
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can place private order for product by the case (24 bottles of beer, 12 bottles of wine)
Taybeh Brewing Company
Taybeh Brewing Company is a family owned business established in 1994 when David Khoury and Nadim Khoury were inspired by their late father, Canaan David Khoury (1926-2002) to return to their home village of Taybeh and establish the first micro brewery in the Middle East.
The goal was to invest and boost the local economy by introducing new styles of natural hand crafted micro-brewed beers according to the German Purity Law with no preservatives or additives making an excellent Palestinian beer. Nadim Khoury turned his hobby of making homemade beer during college days into a career becoming the master brewer. He is very proud to pass this passion and experience to his daughter, Madees Khoury, the only female brewer in Palestine.
Taybeh Beer is uniquely produced in small batches and hand crafted with state of the art equipment. This assures strict control, Batch to Batch process. Using the best ingredients that money can buy to create a beer so fresh, it can only be called TAYBEH BEER.
Taybeh winemaking philosophy: create top quality wines of distinction
Taybeh Winery was founded for one simple reason – to bring truly exceptional wine to the Palestinian market and abroad. We are able to achieve this by partnering with the finest growers in Palestine in order to deliver high quality wines and the highest degree of service to our customers.
Taybeh Winery is a family owned business founded in July 2013 by the Khoury brothers, Nadim and David, and Nadim’s son Canaan Khoury. Following the success of the Khoury family in opening the only brewery in Palestine, Taybeh Brewing Company, Canaan was inspired to return to Palestine after finishing his studies in the United States to open the only boutique winery in Palestine.
Stay tuned for more information about the distinct, quality hand crafted beers and boutique wines!
Palestine Just Trade is pleased to be the agent for Taybeh, working together to introduce these products to Canada.