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BDS Activist Promotes Sales of Israeli Arab Wines in Canada

A scene from the interior of the Ashkar Winery in Israel (Ashkar Winery website)
Jan. 22, 2021
TORONTO – A prominent Canadian activist for the boycott of Israel is promoting the sale of Israeli wine, a B’nai Brith Canada investigation has revealed – but only because the winemaker is an Arab, rather than an Israeli Jew.
“Palestine Just Trade,” a federally-incorporated not-for-profit, has been encouraging Canadians to purchase products from the Ashkar Winery throughout 2020. On its website, Palestine Just Trade says it “was established in 2018 to bring distinct, quality Palestinian products into Canada on the basis that all of its activities must support ‘just’ trade related to international law and human rights, and be considered through the lens of providing the message of ‘just peace’ in regard to Palestine.”
But there’s a catch – the Ashkar Winery is situated within the Jewish State’s internationally-recognized borders. Its website gives its location as Kafr Yasif, an Arab village in northern Israel, and lists all prices in Israeli shekels. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario accurately indicates that Ashkar’s wines are made in Israel.
According to Corporations Canada, the sole director of Palestine Just Trade is Karen Rodman, a Toronto-based advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which “calls for a boycott of all Israeli products.” In May of 2020, Rodman was described as an “organizer” of the Canadian BDS Coalition and took credit for “getting it going.”
B’nai Brith considers the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to be inherently antisemitic and an effort to delegitimize the Jewish State. It has also been labeled as such by the Government of Canada and the Jewish community at large – among others.
B’nai Brith reached out directly to both Rodman and Palestine Just Trade to ask why they were promoting Israeli Arab wines in Canada while calling for a boycott of Israeli Jewish wines, but received no response by the time of publication.
“Promoting Arab products while boycotting Jewish products from the same country is an obvious example of antisemitism,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “This episode is yet another example of the toxic discrimination and hate to which the BDS Movement attempts to grant a veneer of legitimacy.”
Ironically, Palestine Just Trade’s promotion of the Ashkar winery comes as BDS activists challenge the sale in Canada of wines produced by Israeli Jews east of the Green Line, on the basis that labelling them as products of Israel is “misleading.” That case is currently before the Federal Court of Appeal. The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada intervened on behalf of the Jewish community in this case before the Federal Court.
B’nai Brith Canada is releasing a detailed policy paper comprehensively dispelling common myths about the BDS movement. Feel free to read and share this important resource to inform others who may not understand the antisemitic and discriminatory nature of BDS.
CLICK HERE to access this resource in the Policy Positions section of our exciting new website.