Label the Occupation

$10,637 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 121 people in 23 months
Winnipeg human rights activist David Kattenburg wants the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to restore and enforce its July 6, 2017 ruling (issued in response to  Dr. Kattenburg's original late March complaint) that wine products produced in Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (illegal under Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) must be truthfully labeled as such, rather than "Product of Israel" -- as is currently the case -- in order for them to be sold in Canada.

The CFIA reversed its ruling in mid-July, under pressure from pro-Israel lobby groups.

On August 6, Dr. Kattenburg appealed the CFIA’s Reversal Decision. On September 28, the CFIA’s Complaints & Appeals Office informed Kattenburg that the CFIA stands by its decision to allow settlement wines to be sold on Canadian stores shelves, bearing the false and misleading label "Product of Israel."

The CFIA is standing by its self-reversal, even though the “Product of Israel” indication of origin on settlement wines is false and misleading, and the very production of the wines is in grievous violation of international law, which the government of Canada is duty bound to uphold.

Accordingly, Dr. Kattenburg is now taking the Canadian government to court. A Notice of Application for judicial review was filed in the Federal Court of Canada on October 24.

Although a wide variety of products produced in illegal Jewish settlements are available to Canadian consumers, the legality of their importation and sale — bearing the patently false label “Product of Israel” — has never been challenged in court.

Ontario lawyer Dimitri Lascaris is representing David on a  pro bono basis, but other costs are anticipated, including the cost of setbacks along the way. Funds will be used to cover these costs. Unspent funds will be donated to not-for-profit Palestinian solidarity organizations in Canada.

For further details, please visit these three links:



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Hello again, Label The Occupation Supporters!

Following up on the media release I've just sent you all, I just want to thank you again for your incredible support in the lead-up to this historic, July 29 decision by the Federal Court of Canada.

We anticipate that the Government (Attorney General of Canada) will be appealing this decision to the Federal Court of Appeals. They will need to file their appeal by the end of September. Hard to say when the Court of Appeals would hear the case, but it's safe to say this wouldn't be till the first quarter of 2020.

In preparation for the government's appeal, we are now building up a war chest to cover expenses. Some $10,000 have been raised since the start of our Label the Occupation campaign (our current target being $15,000). Much more will be needed to support the formation of a team of heavyweight lawyers to fight this appeal -- the best of the very best (on top of heavyweight attorney Dimitri Lascaris, who won this first round for us, entirely pro bono! A million thanks, Dimitri!).

Stand by for further details on what we have in mind, fundraising-wise, and what funds will cover.

For the time being, thanks for passing along this message. And thanks for your continuing support. We won the first round of this battle. We'll win the second.

Warm regards to all ...

David Kattenburg
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Greetings to Label The Occupation supporters who've not heard the good news:




The Federal Court of Canada has ruled in the landmark case Kattenburg vs. Attorney General of Canada that 'Product of Israel' labels on Israeli settlement wines are "false, misleading and deceptive."

Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are flagrantly illegal under international law -- a point the Honourable Madam Justice Anne Mactavish did not weigh or elaborate on in her 43-page decision.

"While there is profound disagreement between those involved in this matter as to the legal status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank," Justice Mactavish writes, "I do not need to resolve that question in this case. Whatever the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank may be, all of the parties and interveners agree that the settlements in issue in this case are not part of the State of Israel. Consequently, labelling the settlement wines as “Products of Israel” is both inaccurate and misleading, with the result that [the decision by the Complaints & Appeals Office (CAO) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)] affirming that settlement wines may be so labelled was unreasonable."

In the conclusion to her decision, released at 11 a.m. ET on Monday, July 29, 2019, Madam Justice Mactavish writes:

[Para. 126] "One peaceful way in which people can express their political views is through their purchasing decisions. To be able to express their views in this manner, however, consumers have to be provided with accurate information as to the source of the products in question."

[Para. 127] "Canadian federal legislation requires that food products (including wines) that are sold in Canada bear truthful, non-deceptive and non-misleading country of origin labels."

[Para. 128] "The effect of the [decision by the Complaints & Appeals Office (CAO) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)] was to affirm the CFIA’s conclusion that it is permissible to label wines produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank as “Products of Israel” when that is not in fact the case. These labels are thus false, misleading and deceptive. As such, they contravene the requirements of subsection 7(1) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act."

[Para. 129] "A decision that allows Settlement Wines to be labelled as “Products of Israel” thus does not fall within the range of possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and law. It is, rather, unreasonable."

[Para. 130] "As a consequence, Dr. Kattenburg’s application for judicial review is allowed."

[Para. 131] "[It] is not appropriate for this Court to determine how the Settlement Wines should be labelled. That is a matter for the CFIA. Consequently, the recommendation made by the CAO is set aside, and the matter is remitted to the CAO for redetermination."

Dr. David Kattenburg filed his Notice of Application to the Federal Court of Canada on October 24, 2017. His application was heard by Madam Justice Anne Mactavish on May 21 and 22, 2019, in Toronto. Dr. Kattenburg is pleased that justice has been served, and awaits the response of the government on this matter.
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Greetings to Label The Occupation Supporters ...

Our Federal Court of Canada hearing has come and gone. Now we wait for the judge to render a decision. Could be a couple of weeks. Could be five months. We shall keep you posted. In the meantime, here are a few recent news links:




Thanks again for your incredibly supportive donation. Fortunately, thanks to an agreement between the government lawyer and my own attorney, Dimitri Lascaris, we will face no costs if we lose this first Federal Court decision. If we do lose, and move to an appeal, there will, of course, be expenses to cover. If we win this round, the government may appeal, in which case we'll be facing more costs! Assuming an eventual win, we'll be moving to enforcement -- and there will be costs!

So, thanks for your continuing support. Please pass this message along.

Best ...

David Kattenburg
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Greetings to Label the Occupation Supporters ...

Some exciting developments to report as my historic court case proceeds to hearing -- at the Federal Court of Canada on May 21 and 22, in Toronto.

The hearing will be open to the public, We encourage you to attend if you are able.

I am asking the Court to declare unlawful the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's July 13, 2017 decision to permit “Product of Israel” labels on wines produced in Israel’s illegal settlements. The CFIA had ruled, a week earlier, that such labels were unlawful, then reversed itself under a tidal wave of pressure from the Government of Israel, its supporters and agents here in Canada -- including at least one Member of Parliament.

In advance of our May hearing, both B’nai Brith Canada and Independent Jewish Voices applied to intervene, and to be permitted to make submissions. I elected to oppose B’nai Brith’s application for intervenor status, and took no position on IJV’s.

One of the grounds on which we opposed B’nai Brith’s intervention motion is that it has no expertise in international law, or in the other issues central to my judicial review application.

Another major problem of ours: B'Nai Brith helped engineer the CFIA's flip-flop (on behalf of a foreign country aiming to thwart Canadian law).

Yesterday, April 18, the Court agreed with our position and ruled that B’nai Brith (represented by Winnipeg lawyer David Matas) did not meet the test for intervenor status. In a separate decision, the Court granted intervenor status to Independent Jewish Voices (represented by Toronto lawyer Barb Jackman).

The Court's decision must be especially galling for B’nai Brith, which frequently characterizes IJV as a "marginal" group within the community!

Separately, the Court also ruled today on another important issue in our case. Quick background: before I launched my judicial review application, I filed an Access to Information request (ATIP) with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), seeking documents relevant to the wine-labelling decision. The GAC did not produce those documents until January 2019, by which time I and the Attorney General had filed our affidavits and facta. Under Federal Court of Canada rules, litigants cannot file further evidence with the Court once the affidavits have been filed -- unless the Court grants permission, which it rarely does.

Upon reviewing these GAC docs, my attorney (Dimitri Lascaris) and I concluded that some of the email threads therein were very helpful to my case, and we asked the Court for permission to file them in an additional affidavit. The Attorney General opposed our request. Yesterday, the Court agreed with our position and granted us leave to file the GAC documents. They contain dynamite email threads, which support our demand that settlement wines cannot be sold with "Product of Israel" labels.

Final note and appeal: Dimitri has put in hundreds and hundreds of hours on this case, pro bono. But there are real costs. Depending on the outcome of our hearing in May, costs may rise to the tens of thousands. Thanks for helping us out.

And please pass this along!
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Raised by 121 people in 23 months
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