Is the Potential Boycott of all Israeli Products from the Coop Anti-Semitic?

Patch wants to know what our readers think about the hot topic that is burning over at the Park Slope Food Coop.

Patch wants to know what you think about the upcoming discussion, debate and referendum vote to ban or not to ban Israeli products at the  by determining their participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement

The statement of the coop's BDS group, which has no official connection to the coop itself, says they want to ban Israeli products at the Coop, like the Sodastream seltzer maker and replacement cartridges, organic paprika, Israeli couscous, olive pesto, vegan marshmallows and organic yellow peppers, because of “Israel’s violation of international law and human rights,” the group's website says.

, Senior Rabbi at on Eighth Avenue, wrote a blog post for Patch, entitled “,” outlining his thoughts on the potential ban on Israeli products.

Rabbi Bachman broke down why be opposes the ban with three points:

  • One, it singles out Israel at the exclusion of an equal accounting of Palestinians and other Arab states for their own abuses and contributions to this conflict.  
  • Two, it is clear to us that the long-term goal of the BDS movement is to delegitimize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. 
  • Three, a PSFC boycott of Israel will greatly divide the delicate fabric of a community institution with as diverse a membership as any democratic community organization in the United States. 

Joseph Holtz, the General Manager and a founder of the Park Slope Food Coop, wrote his opinion, which is against a boycott of Israeli products, in the Coop’s newsletter, The Linewaiter’s Gazette.

"Voting ‘COOP’ means voting NO on the proposed Israel/BDS referendum at the March General Meeting, regardless of your opinion on the extremely troubling situation in the Mideast," Holtz wrote.

The Coop's BDS group believes that if they carry Israeli goods, “Without making an explicit decision to do so is, in essence, voting in support of Israel’s actions—without actually taking a vote from membership,” the group writes. Therefore they feel that the “best way to respect the feelings” of all its members, “is to take a real vote, assuring that the Coop’s actions align with the wishes of the majority of members.” 

But some people think the ban is a form of bigotry. One commenter on Bachman’s blog post said that he believes the potential ban is “Anti-Semitic.”

The :

“The people behind this are well educated bigots and haters.... This is not a debate to them. They are taking action and we should as well...members who do not agree with the bigots among them need to either purge the Coop of that element or share the label themselves as co-conspirators. If the anti-Semites win and gain control of the Coop we need to boycott and run them out of business.”

The commenter wrote that he does not have a problem with people who do not agree with Israeli politics and voice their opinions, but he does have a problem “Once they step over the line and take actions against Israel in support of the Palestinian ‘plight’ (…I am referring to the accusation that it is all a part of an Israeli apartheid system) they are ‘stepping out’ as terrorist supporters.”

Now, what do you think? Is the Park Slope Food Coop’s potential ban, which will claim solidarity to the BDS movement and boycott all Israeli products, anti-Semitic? Please vote in the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments. 


Correction: Patch incorrectly stated that Joseph Holtz, a founder and general manager of the Coop, supported the boycott in its original version. The article has been updated and Patch regrets the error.  

Aaron Levitt March 27, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with Jews living in the West Bank; in fact I consider it highly desirable. {The Samaritans have lived there for many years, BTW, and though modern Judaism may consider them beyond the pale, Palestinians I've talked to in and around Nablus just think of them as Jews.} The problems lie elsewhere. First is the set of absolute injustices: Israeli settlers and/or soldiers forcibly displacing Palestinians from their lands, destroying Palestinian wells while digging their own, attacking Palestinians, burning their olive trees, destroying their property, etc. Ethnic cleansing, to give an ugly name to an ugly thing. Second, and arguably even more important, is the relative injustice of Jews without direct connections to land in the West Bank seizing those lands at gunpoint, while denying (also at gunpoint) all rights to Palestinians with documented personal and family claims inside of Israel. I don't like ethnic cleansing by Jews any more (or less) than I like ethnic cleansing of Jews, and I don't need to rely on propaganda or distortions because my sole agenda is justice and honor, which can only be served by truth. My hope and prayer is to see the day when Palestinians driven and fled from Israel in 1948/1967 can return to their homes and lands, along with the small number of Jews driven or fled from the West Bank in 1948, and the much larger number driven or fled from their ancestral homes elsewhere in the Middle East.
Bar March 28, 2012 at 04:20 AM
If you compare Israel to the countries from which its jewish refugees fled, you will see that Israel comprises less than 1% of the land. The anti-Israel propaganda that states that Jews seized 80% of Arab land is a masterpiece. Your obsession with Israel indeed supports the most repressive countries. One of the reasons -- besides anti-semitism which remains paramount -- that liberals are drawn into this BDS morass is their fuming over the success of the free market economy in Israel. It's most prevalent among the tenured university professors who understand nothing about capitalism in their comfortable positions.
KarenV April 07, 2012 at 07:08 PM
The boycott would also hurt Palestinians, both those involved in the joint venture Tapenade and those employed in places like Soda King. The Palestinians would be put out of work, with nothing left in place to employ them. Soda King estimates that each Palestinian employed supports 10 family members. So who is being hurt?
Iranian Jewish June 02, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Instead of talking about Israel condemn the brutality of Syrian regime and have Russia and China boycott Syria and Bashar Asad.
Crusty June 02, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Do it all.


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