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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)Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/park-slope-food-coop-proposed-boycott-israel-odious-idiotic-article-1.1026526 NEW YORK DAILY NEWS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 apartheid.”

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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