Israeli wine honours US Secretary of State

Psâgot winery’s new “Pompeo” wine celebrates a recent declaration by Mike Pompeo. In a twist, the US Secretary of State was responding to an international ruling provoked by Psâgot itself. Jason Sych reports.

Pompeo from Psâgot Jerusalem Mountain Vineyards
Pompeo from Psâgot Jerusalem Mountain Vineyards

Psâgot Jerusalem Mountain Vineyards has released a wine named in honour of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Psâgot’s new wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, is named “Pompeo” and celebrates Pompeo’s declaration that the Trump administration no longer agrees with a 1978 State Department opinion that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “inconsistent with international law”. The wine is labelled with the hashtag #madeinlegality. 

Pompeo made his announcement in November 2019, shortly after the EU had ruled that some settlement activity is illegal under international law, and that goods from settlements must be labelled as such, and not just as “Made in Israel”.

In a twist, the EU ruling was a response to a case in the European Court of Justice initiated by Psâgot itself, which challenged a 2016 French ruling that goods originating in an Israeli settlement must be marked as such. Psâgot’s decision to go to court attracted criticism inside Israel, according to the Times of Israel, as it was expected to “further cement the EU’s commitment to labeling, and will consequently not only ensure bad headlines for Israel, but also boost the anti-Israel boycott movement”.

Yaakov Berg, CEO of Psâgot claimed that the EU ruling had “a significant impact on the US administration’s decision” to change its longstanding policy on the settlements.

“If you followed the events and the decision of the EU you can at least appreciate how we feel,” Eli Sales, Psâgot’s overseas marketing manager told Meininger’s. “The [EU] decision wasn't a policy to help clarify any grey area the consumer may have but rather a direct anti-Semitic attack, singling out just Israel.”

He said that when “Mike Pompeo came out a week later in support of all areas ‘beyond the green line’ we felt moved by his unsolicited comments and wanted to show our appreciation.” He added: “Sometimes it's not about achieving a goal but simply doing what we felt was the right thing to do.”

Psâgot had previously told the Times of Israel that it would continue bringing legal cases around the world.

The limited edition Pompeo wine is sold via the winery’s website.

Jason Sych with additional material by Felicity Carter

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