Park Slope Food Coop’s proposed boycott of Israel is odious and idiotic / Leadership should kill this terrible idea (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL) 02/22/12)
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There is in Park Slope, Brooklyn, bastion of liberal, organic, local
and sustainable stuff, a thing called the Park Slope Food Coop.
It’s a very nice idea, and a very popular one. You pay a fee and work
a shift a month in what amounts to a glorified supermarket to be
eligible for lower-priced, high-quality groceries.
Membership entitles patrons to participate in a hyperdemocratic
governing process. How best to describe it? Think management in the
style of Occupy Wall Street.
Should we sell beer? Have a referendum. Should we sell bottled water?
Have a referendum? Should we boycott all products with any relation
to Israel? Let’s have a vote on whether to have a referendum.
The notion is odious, and, as Sen. Chuck Schumer, himself an area
resident, said yesterday, “totally wrong.”
Forced onto the agenda by an artist preciously known as Hima B., the
vote is part and parcel of a global movement called “BDS” — Boycotts,
Divestments and Sanctions — that verges on anti-Semitism in finding
fault with the very existence of the Jewish state.
Asked why she’d ban products like Israeli couscous or seltzer or
organic paprika, Ms. B. responded, “Palestinian civil society asks
the world to support their right to human rights by putting economic
pressure on Israel to end its racist practice of stealing their land
and ethnic cleansing.”
She also said the situation in Israel is “no different than when
black South Africans were crushed by white South Africans’ system of
These remarks are so over-the-top offensive as to demand that the co-
op’s board rule even a vote out of order. You want a show of hands on
whether to buy local produce? Knock yourself out. But to give a
moment’s serious consideration to making a statement against
alleged “ethnic cleansing” — an accusation tantamount to a war crime —
is to give credence to grotesque libel.
On her website, Ms. B. calls herself “an intradependent
writer/director/producer who makes social issue documentaries,
narratives, experimental films and videos that explore the
intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, labor and
economics, especially as they relate to lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, people of color, and
women and girls.”
While we can’t say we are familiar with her “intradependent” work, it
did seem that, given her background, Ms. B. might appreciate the fact
that Israel, unique among Mideast countries, protects the rights of
women and homosexuals, and defends freedom of conscience while
neighboring regimes are imprisoning and killing protesters.
Or Israel’s universal health care system. Or its democracy,
unparalleled in the region.
Fortunately, the co-op appears to have a contingent of more morally
grounded members. Among those are longtime general manager Joe Holtz.
This faction appears to be trying to distance the co-op from the
boycott call by having a vote on whether to vote. It needs to do
better. It needs to tell Ms. B. and her allies to stuff their
referendum and, if they can do so without falling all to pieces, take
their business elsewhere. (© Copyright 2012 NYDailyNews.com. 02/22/12)
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