Sweden’s state alcohol retail monopoly has recently decided to market wines produced in the Israel Golan Heights as made in “Syrian occupied territory.” The shelves carrying the kosher wine had previously labeled it as coming from Israel, but the Systembolaget monopoly recently changed the labels.
“Many of our customers believe that the Golan Heights do not belong to the State of Israel according to international law. we have approached the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm in order to consult about how to define the origin of the wine in our catalogue,” a spokesman for the state company explained.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed the report, but stated it had no involvement in the company’s final decision regarding how to refer to the wine’s production site in its stores.
Christian Democrat parliamentarian Annelia Enochson called the decision “very disturbing”, and said that it was tantamount to “unfair special treatment of Israel.”
‘Some clerk really likes us’
“Someone in Sweden is looking to damage the sales of Israeli wines,” senior Jerusalem officials said on Wednesday, claiming that Israel and the European Union have agreed in the past that goods produced in settlements would only carry labels stating their place of manufacturing.
“When it comes to wine, no one asks whether it was made in occupied territory or not,” an Israeli official said.
Golan Heights winery CEO Shalom Blayer said that he was infuriated by the Swedish decision. “It appears that some clerk in Sweden really ‘likes’ us. we will continue to sell wines with the Golan Heights label, because this is where the wine comes from. Whoever doesn’t like it, can refrain from buying the wine. We’re not selling politics,” he said.
Eitan Glickman contributed to the report