By: Jesse Lempel
Hundreds of bottles of Trump Vodka were seized by Israeli police for bearing phony “Kosher for Passover” labels in advance of the upcoming holiday, a police spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Police raided the storage room of “a known alcohol distributor in downtown Haifa” and found hundreds of Trump Vodka bottles with forged Passover-friendly stickers on them, the spokesperson said. Three people were detained for questioning on suspicion of having pasted the phony labels on the drink.
Vodka is typically made from fermented grain, a product forbidden on the Jewish holiday during which no leavened bread may be eaten. Trump Vodka, by contrast, is made from potatoes.
Wednesday’s raid and arrests were made following a report by the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post exposing the Passover Trump Vodka scam.
“We discovered that instead of one of the ingredients that was supposed to be kosher for Passover, they used a different one,” the report quoted Rabbi David Silverstone of the OK Kosher certification organization.
Trump Vodka, which bears the brand of US billionaire and presidential candidate Donald Trump, has been out of business for years in most parts of the world. Nevertheless, the beverage has gained unlikely popularity in Israel for one week per year in the niche market of kosher-for-Passover vodkas.
Trump sued the Israeli company producing Trump Vodka in 2011 in a licensing dispute yet eventually settled the case. “Israel’s demand for high quality products and attraction to powerful brand names is a wonderful platform for the Trump brand,” the company said in a press release on Trump.com.
Donald Trump touted the alleged success of Trump Vodka—alongside Trump Steaks and Trump Water—in his victory speech following the Florida Republican primary in March.
“It was a successful product, which continues to be popular abroad,” Trump said of his vodka in a statement to Bloomberg on Wednesday.
With the latest pre-Passover police raid, however, a few hundred bottles of the beverage have been taken off the Israeli market.