PROUD OF THE FLAG

25/12/2015
Israeli wine under attack more »

Israeli wine is under attack. The BDS organization is anxious to disenfranchise Israel in any way it can. Wine is a very easy target, because it is very visible. An overriding proportion of Israeli wine is produced in undisputed Israel from vineyards in undisputed Israel, but the attacks are indiscriminate and once an anti Israel stall is set up, the facts are not that important to them.

Now the EU countries have introduced new labelling guidelines, differentiating products produced in the undisputed State of Israel with those produced in the West Bank (aka Judea and Samaria.) The 'Made in Israel' statement which has to appear on all exported wines, can no longer appear on the labels of wines from the disputed territories. The decision of whether to implement this will be up to individual countries.

The swiftest reaction to this was by the high profile German store Ka De We, which in a knee jerk reaction, immediately delisted their Israeli wines but they swiftly put them back following the outcry.

There are even debates within Israel with wineries in the West Bank accusing some Israeli restaurants in Tel Aviv of boycotting their wines.

In fact the effect of any boycott, wherever it comes from, will be negligible. Israeli wines in export markets sell mainly to the Jewish market and there are many within the kosher drinking wine public that will purposefully drink more wine from the West Bank to counter threats of boycotts and sanctions. As such, the financial damage will be negligible, and it may even prove to be counter productive.

The winery most affected by these efforts is usually the Golan Heights Winery, because it is Israel's highest profile winery in export. What makes this unfair is the differences between the Golan Heights and the West Bank, which demonstrate the hypocrisy surrounding this issue.

The Golan has been annexed to Israel, there are no Palestinians on the Golan and Syria is disintegrating into ever more dangerous factions, so it is not even in the West's interest that the Golan be handed back to anybody. However the reality and facts on the ground are ignored in this blanket approach.

Bazelet magen david capsule

One winery has decided to send its own defiant message. This is Bazelet HaGolan, a boutique winery situated at Kidmat Zvi in the central Golan Heights. They have released wines with the Israeli flag, the Magen David, showing clearly and proudly on the capsule. This is a statement by the owner Yoav Levy, that he is proud to sell Israeli wine under the Israeli flag.

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