Masterclass in Hypocrisy: Yes to pulling Russian liquor, NO to deshelving Israeli apartheid wines

Wine ftom the illegal Jewish settlement Efrat (CJN)

Mondoweiss  /  March 2, 2022

Activists in British Columbia who have worked for years to have illegal Israeli settlement wines pulled from state-owned liquor stores were shocked when Russian products were pulled just two days after the invasion of Ukraine.

Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued by the Canada Palestine Association. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.

 We have been campaigning for years to have illegal Israeli settlement wines pulled off the shelves of publicly owned liquor stores in British Columbia. Successive governments, including the current NDP one, have either ignored or rebuffed our demands to even investigate this situation. We have been told it’s a matter of “consumer choice” or under “federal jurisdiction”. The previous NDP minister responsible for this portfolio, David Eby, flat out refused to meet with us in 2018.

So imagine our shock when in just 2 days, the BC NDP government joined other provinces in putting a “…halt to the importing and sale of Russian liquor products from our BC Liquor Stores and provincial liquor distribution centres”. So it can be done and done quickly, it seems. It just depends on who you are and what political agenda is being served. And clearly, the “consumer choice” argument was nothing but a big lie.

This is just one small concrete example of the stunning hypocrisy displayed by Canadian and Western officials this week. This double standard has not gone unnoticed; social media has been abuzz with multiple comments, pointing out that what is framed as legitimate resistance in one country is labelled terrorism in another. That what determines the response of Western governments, as Palestinian writer Ali Abunimah put it, is a matter of “who we are, not what we do”. That Israeli occupation, oppression and apartheid that has lasted for over 70 years stands unchecked. And that the mass killing and forced starvation of civilians in Yemen goes unnoticed for 7 years, and is continuing in real time, as politicians here show they are capable of swift action within 2 days when it suits their purposes.

This action by the BC (and other provincial governments) is a slap in the face to not only Palestinian-Canadians, but to anyone who cares about the trajectory of political discourse in Canada. Because the message here is clear. International law and the much-touted “rules based order” are not neutral policies that will help the Palestinians and other oppressed peoples achieve their liberation. Activists need to rethink the approach of appealing to politicians’ moral compass, as clearly they don’t have one; their support of Israeli war crimes and apartheid is a conscious choice and we must acknowledge it as such.