Brooklyn Co-Op votes down Israel boycott (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL SHEFLER, JPOST.COM STAFF 03/28/12)
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Members of the Park Slope Food Co-Op voted down a proposed referendum
to ban Israeli foods by a landslide, with 1005 voting against and 653
voting for it.
The local food fight drew international attention on Tuesday and
senior New York politicians lined up to weigh in on the debate.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn were among those who came out
strongly against the boycott.
“I think it has nothing to do with the food,” Bloomberg was quoted as
saying by The New York Times. “The issue is there are people who want
Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred, and America is
not going to let that happen.”
Advocates of the boycott rejected claims of anti-Semitism, saying
their aim was to apply pressure on the Israeli government to stop
abuses of Palestinian rights.
“We are for the rights and security of both Jews and Palestinians,
but support the boycott because of Israel’s decadeslong
discriminatory policies against Palestinians,” wrote Carol Wald, a
member of the co-op that backs the boycott.
“We believe Israel’s policy on settlements must be actively protested
and that an end to the occupation and equal rights for Palestinians
The battle over the proposed ban has split the 15,000 co-op members
into three main camps: proponents, opponents and the indifferent. In
recent weeks, activists from both sides have stood outside the Park
Slope food store trying to persuade passersby to support their cause.
The number of Israeli products carried by the co-op, which includes
paprika and soda makers, is relatively negligible.
But supporters of the ban say it would send a strong message to
Israel to curb alleged violations of Palestinian rights.
Supporters of Israel, on the other hand, say that the country is
being singled out unfairly and that the boycott is a veiled form of
anti-Semitism. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/28/12)
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