JANUARY 28, 2015 – ISRAELI WINES NO LONGER APPEAR ON THE CACTUS CLUB DRINK MENU
Don’t Drink with Apartheid, It’ll Surely Ruin your Appetite!
Cactus Club, a chain of restaurants in Western Canada, is carrying one of the Galil wines labelled from Israel on its wine list. Despite several attempts to engage with their management on this issue (see letter below), they have not even acknowledged receiving our messages; rather, they have chosen to ignore the human rights principles at stake. We must let Cactus Club know that many of its customers find this offensive and that it will affect our decision to patronize their restaurants. Please phone their head office 604-714-2025, email [email protected] and [email protected], or go into one of their restaurants and speak with the manager and express your concerns.
January 6, 2011
Richard Jaffray, President and Ceo, Cactus Club
Several of your customers have recently brought it to our attention that you are carrying the ’06 Galil Mountain Red Wine, labelled from Israel. You may not be aware that the Galil Winery is a joint venture with the Golan Heights Winery (http://www.galilmountain.co.il/Home/English), which produces wines from grapes grown on stolen Arab land. In fact, as their name would indicate, some of their wineries are located on occupied Syrian land in the Golan Heights. All of this is in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and stated Canadian policy http://www.international.gc.ca/name-anmo/peace_process-processus_paix/canadian_policy-politique_canadienne.aspx?lang=eng. Nonetheless, the Canadian government has given Israel preferential trading status under the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement, an agreement that financially enables the Israeli government’s illegal policies and does not even attempt to distinguish products that are from Israeli settlements. As concerned and ethical consumers, however, we cannot wait for the Canadian government to take the lead on this (or for that matter, any other) issue of conscience.
We are urging this change of your company policy, which claims to be committed to education and continuous learning, for two reasons:
First, Palestinian civil society has called for the international community to boycott Israeli products until Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights regarding all occupied Arab lands;
Second, the UN Human Rights Norms for Business, unanimously adopted in 2003, prohibits transnational corporations and other business entities from profiting from violations of international humanitarian law (Art. 3), and also prohibits them from using suppliers who do not respect human rights norms (Art. 4.). Profiting from occupation is immoral and bad business.
Your restaurant is being used to advance an illegal occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights. Even the Israeli peace bloc Gush Shalom includes all the Golan Heights wines on their national boycott list of settlement products, under the heading “A Penny to the settlements is a Penny against Peace” http://gush-shalom.org.toibillboard.info/boycott_eng.htm
Your actions are also rewarding Israeli occupation, ethnic cleansing and war crimes that are committed daily by the Israeli Government against the Palestinian and other Arab peoples. Many respected human rights groups, including most recently Human Rights Watch, have condemned Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories as violations of international law and systematic discrimination. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/12/18/israelwest-bank-separate-and-unequal.
We urge you to rethink your wine list selection and we are willing to meet at anytime to talk further about this issue. Please be aware that we take this matter very seriously, and will go forward with a public education campaign if necessary, emphasizing why Israeli occupation and militarism hurts us all.
Chair, Canada Palestine Association