Kamala Harris criticised for celebrating Passover with Israeli settlement wine

Kamala Harris criticised for celebrating Passover with Israeli settlement wine
2 min read
19 April, 2022
US Vice President Kamala Harris served wine manufactured in an illegal West Bank settlement at a dinner celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover, drawing the ire of pro-peace groups.
Kamala Harris held a Seder, or meal to mark Passover, on Friday [Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty-file photo]

US Vice President Kamala Harris was criticised by Jewish and pro-Palestine groups on Monday for providing Israeli settlement wine at a religious celebration.

Harris held a Seder, the meal that marks the beginning of the Passover holiday, on Friday alongside her Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff.

But the wine on offer was from Psagot Winery, which is located in an illegal settlement in the West Bank, as identified by a reporter from Israel's Channel 12.

An email from Americans for Peace Now, a group which supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, urged members to join a petition opposing settlement wines, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Americans for Peace Now chief Hadar Susskind said: "I absolutely believe that the VP did not intend to serve wine produced in a settlement.

"But this mistake came about because of policy. Specifically, the Trump administration policy which erased the Green Line and allowed products made in West Bank settlements to be labeled as 'Made in Israel.'"

The Green Line refers Israel's internationally recognized pre-1967 borders. This is widely accepted as the line along which a possible two-state solution for the region would be implemented.

Herbie Ziskend, a senior communications advisor to Harris, tweeted that "the wine served at the Seder was in no way intended to be an expression of policy".

Peace Now's Susskind said that his organisation's petition calls on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to "reverse Trump's embracement of West Bank settlements".

He said: "Psagot and other Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not a part of Israel.

"They are constructed in occupied territory, under Israeli military occupation, and with the stated objective of preventing a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

"Consecutive US administrations, Democratic and Republican, have defined settlements an obstacle to peace."

Liberal Jewish group JStreet made similar remarks.

"This highlights why it's so important for the US to again accurately label settlement products – which are not made in the state of Israel, but in the occupied Palestinian territory," it said, also highlighting Trump's labelling policy.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East Vice President Michael Bueckert said the wine at Harris's Seder "demonstrates serious contempt for Palestinians and international law".

Bueckert tweeted this remark before Ziskend's response.