Culture, Global, Identity, Israel

BIG Boycott of Israeli Products Fails

As a new member of the Park Slope Food Coop, I am just barely starting to learn about the world of cooperatives. The Park Slope Coop, which originally did not sell meat or alcohol, now to carries kosher organic meet and imported gourmet beer. As I have spoken to many long time members about these hot issues, though I heard about a great deal of controversy, no story I have heard comes close to this one.
Personally, one of the reasons I joined the coop is that they have many local products, particularly vegetables. While I see some of the political reasons for boycotting Israeli products (even when I was in Israel it was often difficult to tell when certain products had come from the occupied territories), for me, the ecological footprint of any overseas product is so high, I can easily “boycott” most Israeli (and other imported) products by eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. Of course olive oil comes to mind as one that is particularly difficult to come by in the northeast US…
Last week, a food coop in Ann Arbor officially voted against a boycott that was to prevent the coop from selling products made in Israel or the occupied territories:

After a month-long polling period – culminating nearly eight months of discussion and petitioning – members of People’s Food Co-op in Ann Arbor voted against a proposed boycott of Israeli goods.
The referendum was initiated by a co-op member, then a member of the group Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG).
In addition to boycotting all Israeli goods, the referendum also asked that the co-op “purchase no goods made, grown or originated in Israel or in Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.”
The co-op carries fewer than a dozen Israeli-produced items, which co-op president Linda Diane Feldt said is merely “one-tenth of 1 percent of sales – less than $5,000 per year.”
Among the 6,000 members of the co-op, 1,128 valid votes were cast, with 262 members voting in favor of the boycott and 866 opposed.

Full story.
Jewschool readers: please share any news you may have from your local coop regarding Israeli imports.
Editor’s note: Did anyone else know that one could get a *.coop web address? So cool!

9 thoughts on “BIG Boycott of Israeli Products Fails

  1. Mmmm, no mention of a boycott against China for its rape of Tibet; no boycott of Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. for their execrable treatment of second class slaves – otherwise known as their women – no proposal of a boycott against Sudanese products for their genocide against Christians and Blacks, etc. etc. Does anyone doubt that the boycott against Israel is really the efforts of a bunch of fucking anti semites to destroy Jews?

  2. We go through this periodically with the Rainbow Coop here in San Francisco. It’s tedious at this point. I keep hearing it’s starting up again, but I don’t know. I really love the local/organic/stinky soy vibe at Rainbow but the anti-Zionist propaganda everywhere is a bit much and I pretty much stick to Golden Produce these days. Rainbow seems to be staffed by a bunch of short-sighted nimwits.

  3. BIG problem:
    Living in Ann Arbor and interacting extensively with the BIG fools, I don’t doubt that they have nefarious intentions. While I have a problem with their (and much of the larger movement’s) hypocrisy and double standards (see above), I’m more troubled by how they’ve polluted the waters of Palestinian solidarity, especially for Jewish activists like myself. BDS (Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions) is actually a morally and politically legitimate response to human rights abuses, and not without precedent. Indeed, kol ha’kavod to the Jewish community for taking the moral lead in working for divestment from Sudan Now we need to extend these same standards when confronting the rest of the world, even if that means pointing the finger at ourselves, lest we be guilty of the same omissions “incorrect” so rightly identifies.

  4. Hey:
    Your most recent weblog post is entitled “a taste of israel.” [Granted it is dated in teh sprint, but still …]
    I’m for lowering the ecological footprint of the food we eat, products we use, etc., as much as the next person. I understand the grevious impact of the occupation of the West Bank on the Palestinian Arabs who live there as well as on Israeli society, economy, polity as well.
    But it appears that the overwhelming majority of those advoating boycotting Israeli products – whether it is in the food coop arena or elsewhere – are not critical supporters of Israel, nor are they thoughtful critical non-supporters of Israel who accept the reality of the State of Israel, even if they do not agree with the Zionist premises upon which it was founded. No, the overwhelming majority of those calling for boycotting Israeli goods, services, academics, etc., are anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and generally hold Israel to a standard that they do not hold other countries to.
    It is for this reason that even those of us who are critical of Israel should actively oppose such calls for boycotts. Simple as that.

  5. Aside from all the good reason that boycotts of Israel are stupid that have been mentioned already, here’s another: boycotting products from the Occupied Territories ALSO penalizes Palestinians who are struggling to make a living. For example, a boycott like that would also exclude RHR-Israel’s olive oil, produced by Palestinians – and if RHR sells it, there’s a darn good chance that the people we’re failing to support are those who are working towards a non-violent future.
    This is an ongoing stupidity in so many ways: on both sides of the political divide, actions taken have resulted in the peaceful folks being driven out of the conversation. NO wonder the violent folks are having such a field day.

  6. Boycotting everything non-local, whenever possible, sounds good to me. I’m personally boycotting all apples from Not-New York. Especially the blood apple of New Zealand, yemach shimom ooh zichrom, l’ad!

  7. The 4th Street Food Coop in NYC has a bin labeled “Jerusalem Artichokes”. Somebody put another sticker on top of it to make it say “Palestinian Artichokes”. Whenever I’m in there, I take off the word “Palestinian” so that it says “Jerusalem Artichokes” again.

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