Label the Occupation

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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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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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... and here's Part 2 ...

2) In his April 10 testimony to your committee, Mr. Lulashnyk referred to Israel's extended customs area or "union" with the Palestinians. His conclusion, quite illogical, is that the existence of this customs union justifies the extension of CIFTA trade benefits to Israeli settlements (that he says Canada considers illegal). This customs union is alluded to (though not explicitly cited) in old CIFTA 1.4.1(b) and the new 1.7., and comprises those areas where Israeli customs laws "are applied." Mr. Lulashnyk correctly locates the origin/authority for this customs union within Oslo-era economic deals between Israel and the Palestinians.

These deals, you may know, are the Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the [PLO] signed on April 29, 1994 (the "Paris Accord"), the Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities between Israel and the PLO, signed on August 27, 1995, and the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, signed on September 28, 1995. Mr. Lulashhnyk also refers to the 1999 "Framework" deal between the Government of Canada and the Palestinian Authority, arising from/acknowledging these Israel-PLO/PA accords.

For added insight, I point you to Canada's Statutory Order & Regulation (SOR) 97-62, which defines "Israel or another CIFTA beneficiary" as "the territory where the customs laws of Israel are applied and includes the territory where those laws are applied in accordance with Article III of the Protocol on Economic Relations set out in Annex V of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, dated September 28, 1995."

The above economic deals refer almost exclusively to Palestinian "Areas" or the "West Bank." Their purpose was to boost the Palestinian economy in preparation for statehood in the post-Interim Period (after 1999). Having actually been excluded from Oslo negotiations in the original 1994 Declaration of Principles, settlements appear virtually nowhere in these deals. They were a "final status" issue. Of course, Israel had (and continues to have) every intention of expanding/consolidating its settlements, in violation of both the spirit and letter of Oslo.

But my point is this: Settlements were never intended to be part of the extended customs area alluded to in CIFTA. GAC trade people know this (as I've come to believe, reading email threads released to me as part of my court case). Therefore, Mr. Lulashnyk's assertion in his April 10 testimony that the above accords provide for Canadian trade with unlawful Israeli settlements is inaccurate. False. A clause must be added to the Modernized CIFTA specifically excluding settlement products from favourable tariff treatment under CIFTA. The Israeli government should be happy Canada doesn't ban them outright (something I think it should do.)

3) Regarding Ms. Spiers' testimony at your April 10 hearing, I wish to raise a couple of additional points. Ms. Spiers testified that respect for key international humanitarian and human rights laws are somehow implicitly addressed within Canada's international and bilateral trade agreements, and so the inclusion of a specific human rights clause into the modernized CIFTA should not be a matter of concern.

I disagree. While the modernized CIFTA does state that the agreement does not "prevent a Party from taking any action in order to carry out its international obligations for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security" [Article 20.2(c)], the much more direct, original CIFTA Article 1.2.2 ("Each Party shall interpret and apply the provisions of the Agreement ... in accordance with applicable rules of international law") should be re-incorporated. I'm sure the deletion of this clause was intentional on the part of Canadian and Israeli negotiators.

Rene Cormier and Mary Coyle -- I realize that CIFTA's approval by the Senate and ultimate passage in Third Reading in Commons, as currently drafted, are done deals. The Trudeau government's unconditional support for Israel, regardless of the crimes it commits against the Palestinian people, on a daily basis, is well known. I shall continue to struggle for justice, and thank you for doing so as well.

Glad to discuss these issues with you further.


Dr. David Kattenburg
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Greetings to all -- generous contributors to my Label the Occupation GoFundMe campaign ...

I sent this out by email this morning, to Canadian Senators Mary Coyle (NB) and Rene Cormier (NS). Self-explanatory. Read on.

Thanks for your continuing support for justice and the rule of law. Thanks for passing this along.

GoFundMe won't let me send something this large, so I'll send it in two parts. Here's Part #1

Cheers ...


Hello Senators Coyle and Cormier ...

I would like to thank you for your interventions at the April 10 hearing on Bill C-85, before the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and specifically, for your questions to Mr. Troy Lulashnyk and Ms. Mary-Catherine Spiers -- both from the trade division of Global Affairs Canada.

In case you are not aware, I am the Applicant in a case to be heard before the Federal Court of Canada, on May 21 and 22, regarding the sale in Canada of wine products produced in unlawful Jewish settlements in the Israeli-colonized West Bank (OPT). Although these and other settlement products should truly be banned from Canada outright, I am simply asking the Federal Court:

1. To declare unlawful the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's July 13, 2017 ruling to permit the importation and sale in Canada of settlement wines labelled "Product of Israel."

2. To declare that neither the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) nor its Implementation Act authorize products made in the OPT to be labelled as "Product of Israel."

3. To declare that the sale of "Product of Israel" settlement wines in Canada breaches Canada's Food and Drugs Act and Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

4. To declare that the sale here in Canada of "Product of Israel" settlement wines violates Canada's Geneva Conventions Act, as well as Canada's obligations as a party to the 4th Geneva Convention (1949) and the UN Charter.

I would be pleased to discuss my case with you further. For the time being, I just want to raise several points arising from Mr. Lulashnyk's and Ms. Spiers' responses to your questions during your committee hearing on April 10. Mr. Lulashnyk's responses -- inaccurate and contradictory, in large part -- raised more questions than they answered. With due respect to Mr. Lulashnynk, they reflect the government's full intention of doing business with Israel's unlawful settlement enterprise, no matter what international law states, and regardless of Canada's long standing, declared support for a "Two-State Solution" to the Israel-Palestine "conflict."

1) Mr. Lulashnyk stated on several occasions, without hesitation, that Canada considers settlements to be "illegal" under international law, and that they are not part of Israel's sovereign territory. Mr. Lulashnyk also confirmed at your committee hearing that Canada considers the settlements to be an impediment to this "Two-State Solution" Mr. Trudeau claims to hold near and dear. If these positions are truly Canada's (rather than just disingenuous 'comm lines'), then why would the Trudeau government allow, indeed defend the sale of settlement products here in Canada, tariff free and labelled 'Product of Israel'? In doing so, Canada appears to be endorsing Israel's de facto annexation of the OPT. Aiding and supporting it, really. Does it not?

When Mr. Lulashnyk states, pleasantly, that CIFTA enables Canada to engage in trade with both "Israel" and the Palestinians -- in response to your questions about settlement products under CIFTA -- what he's saying is that Canada considers the settlements to be part of Israel.

Stand by for Part 2
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