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Controversy Over West Bank Wine Widens to Question Canada-Israel Free Trade Deal Itself PDF Print E-mail
Jul 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM

What started as a simple complaint over appropriate labelling of wines from the West Bank now threatens to open up a wider debate over the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement itself.

There were probably “high-fives” in the offices of B’nai Brith Canada after Israel appeared to have dodged a bullet a week ago over the issue of West Bank wines. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency had demanded that the Ontario Liquor Control Board stop selling wines produced in the West Bank which were labelled “Product of Israel”. B’nai Brith and others vigorously protested the ruling, arguing that the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) allows products from areas Israel controls to be sold as “Product of Israel”. CFIA was embarassed, and quickly reversed its decision.

B’nai Brith eagerly claimed victory, both on its own website and to the media.

But B’nai Brith may be having second thoughts about using the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement as an argument as it has led others to examine the agreement itself.

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Do 'free trade' agreements trump product origin labelling? PDF Print E-mail
Jul 26, 2017 at 04:27 PM

...Dr. David Kattenburg, a child of Holocaust survivors and complainant in this case, argued, "It's an open and shut case. Just as Canadian consumers wouldn't want to find out that a wine labelled 'Made in France' is produced from grapes grown entirely in Romania, they should know that these wines are not produced from grapes from Israel."

But by July 13, the CFIA reversed its directive citing a provision in the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (signed in 1996 under Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien) whereby Israel is to be considered "the territory where its customs laws are applied," rather than its internationally recognized borders.

As such, this provision in a 'free trade' agreement appears to have trumped Canadian foreign policy and a consumers' right to information on the origin of a good.

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Ontario caves to Israel on falsely-labeled wines– for now, anyway PDF Print E-mail
Jul 16, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Anyone who doubts Israel’s awesome ability to manipulate other countries’ public servants should examine the outcome of a complaint of mine to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding the false labeling of two West Bank settlement wine products on Ontario liquor store shelves.

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Independent Jewish Voices Canada applauds Niki Ashton's support for Palestinian rights PDF Print E-mail
May 19, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Ottawa, ON— After NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton made a Facebook post expressing solidarity with Palestinian rights, Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) joined with Canadians from across the country in offering their support.  

“IJV is inspired by Ashton’s courageous support for human rights,” says IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan. “It is rare for a Canadian politician to openly express their solidarity with the Palestinians’ plight.”

“Sadly, B’nai Brith Canada, which provides unconditional support for the far-right Netanyahu government, launched a smear campaign against Ashton for daring to express her solidarity with Palestinians facing human rights abuses,” continued Levitan.

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It's Time For Our Prime Minister To Commemorate Nakba Day PDF Print E-mail
May 15, 2017 at 12:00 AM

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tyler-levitan/nakba-day-canada_b_16582412.html

Tyler Levitan
Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices - Canada

Canada prides itself on being a country that espouses the values of fairness and equality. We must recognize, however, that Canada's history is one of settler colonialism, a violent process by which settlers from foreign lands dispossessed the indigenous inhabitants of this land, and established a society against the interests and consent of the people who were already living here.

While Canada is beginning to come to terms with this reprehensible past through acknowledging these truths, and is beginning the long and difficult journey of reconciliation, the same cannot be said for Canada's close friend and ally, Israel, with whom Canada asserts it has "shared values."

Israel, too, prides itself on being a country that it claims is a beacon of fairness and equality. However, Israel was established as a state - similarly to Canada - through the violent dispossession of the people who were already there, and who already had a society rooted deeply in that land for generations. This violent process of dispossession is referred to by the people who were already living there - the Palestinians - as "the catastrophe," or in Arabic, the Nakba.

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Quick Summary Of Canadian Views On Israel/Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Feb 28, 2017 at 05:10 PM

We wanted to make sure you saw the results of a survey on Canadian attitudes on Israel-Palestine that CJPME co-sponsored with Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Dimitri Lascaris, and Murray Dobbin.  Basically, the survey results show the following (click for chart view):

The strange tale of Canada’s Israeli lobby PDF Print E-mail
Feb 28, 2017 at 05:08 PM

How the campaign against BDS turned into an attack on open democratic debate

In August 2016 the Green Party of Canada concluded its annual convention. Elizabeth May, the party’s leader and sole elected MP, met the media, but not with the usual bland partisan clichés. Instead she complained, “I have to say I’m pretty devastated.” Soon she was even talking about quitting the leadership altogether, walking away from the small but influential young party she had personally infused with an enviably disproportionate national profile....

Bizarrely, May was putting her political future on the line because of the passage of a single resolution on foreign policy, a qualified endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks international action to condemn Israel for its treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories. May did not happen to agree with that resolution, but was this disagreement so extreme as to contemplate resignation? In the end she decided to stay, but only after insisting on a rerun vote on BDS.

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Why I was fired by Elizabeth May PDF Print E-mail
Sep 17, 2016 at 06:57 PM
In this exclusive interview with Ricochet, former Green justice critic Dimitri Lascaris explains why Elizabeth May fired him and why he plans to fight on to protect the Greens’ controversial BDS resolution.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, abruptly fired three members of her shadow cabinet on Tuesday. According to an official statement posted to the party’s website, Dimitri Lascaris, Lisa Barrett and Colin Griffiths were expelled from the leadership team for “inappropriate use of a Party position.”

"The ultimatum I was given was that I  must issue a clear apology to Andrew Weaver or I would be expelled from shadow cabinet."

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Elizabeth May fired critics after pressure from B.C. Greens PDF Print E-mail
Sep 17, 2016 at 06:53 PM

Is the leader of the B.C. Green Party calling the shots for the federal Greens under Elizabeth May’s leadership? Ricochet has learned that May cited the forthcoming B.C. provincial election in an email where she threatened to fire three of her shadow cabinet members if they did not apologize to B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver.

On Tuesday, Lisa Barrett, Colin Griffiths and Dimitri Lascaris were abruptly fired from their roles in the Green Party of Canada’s shadow cabinet after an op-ed published in the Tyee prompted Weaver to complain to May and eventually publicly distance himself from the federal party. 

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Depressed about the situation in the Middle East? You may not be looking in the right places

News from Israel/Palestine

by Peter Larson

Israel has carried out deadly bombing raids over Gaza, killling and wounding many in alleged reprisals for a kidnapping/murder in the West Bank. But what effect is its show of muscle having on Israel's reputation around the world?

Several people have written to me in the last week about how discouraged they are about recent developments in the Middle East.

"How much more pain and suffering can anyone endure?"
"Will it ever change?"

In fact there is lots of reason to be optimistic if you look at what is happening on the world scene.

Read full article: http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=17eaae75f7dfe1659c149b0ef&id=ddde9d1865