‘Ha’aretz': Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists storm ‘Jewish supermarket’!

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments
hummus
Is hummus an “Israeli good”?

There’s a phenomenon that I have at times witnessed which continues to shock me though it should not: individual Jews exploiting the fears and insecurities of other Jews in order to garner their support for an agenda that they otherwise would not be so supportive of.

Such is the case with a recent Ha’aretz report by Barak Ravid. Ravid warns his readers that

An intensive delegitimization campaign is taking place in cities across the United States—on university campuses, at malls and in front of Israel consulates.

Well sure, we’ve heard about it before. That’s the thing they call the BDS, right? But wait:

The campaign is not aimed at the settlement enterprise, or against the occupation and the humiliation of millions of Palestinians at checkpoints, but rather the campaign is against the very existence of the State of Israel, and promoting a boycott of anything that might even smell Israeli.

One example is the story of “Park Slope Food Co-op,” a Jewish supermarket located in Brooklyn, situated in one of the most “Jewish” areas in the United States. Every week, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists assemble near the entrance, where one can purchase Israeli goods, and call for a general boycott of the store.

Truly frightening, especially since it’s so untrue. How shall we parse this?

1. The Park Slope Food Co-op is not a “Jewish supermarket.” It is a food cooperative open to everyone who joins as a working member. It is not explicitly marketed toward Jews, and there is nothing distinctly Jewish about it (as some of the Christmas-themed products currently on the shelves will attest to).

2. “Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists” do not “assemble near the entrance” every week. Ravid is possibly referring to the one or two people who leaflet outside the Co-op every now and then.

3. Moreover these leafleters are not “call[ing] for a general boycott of the store” but instead calling for a member referendum on whether the Co-op should honor the Palestinian BDS call.

4. The Hebrew version of Ravid’s article reports the same thing but includes this additional lie:

…where one can purchase Israeli goods such as Bamba, Milky, and hummus…

I have never seen Bamba or Milky at the Co-op, and hummus is not an “Israeli good.”

So how did Ravid come up with this story? Most likely he coordinated with Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli Minister of “Information,” whom Ravid quotes in the same article. Edelstein and his entourage visited the Park Slope Food Co-op last week, along with StandWithUs regional coordinator Avi Posnick, who has been tasked with taking down the Co-op.

Richard Silverstein has the scoop on that story on his blog. (Disclosure: I assisted Richard with the story.)

Finally, Ravid claims that the BDS campaign has nothing to do with supporting human rights and equality for Palestinians. Instead, it is motivated by hatred for Israel and is “promoting a boycott of anything that might even smell Israeli.” Since his sole example turns out to be a complete fabrication, we can dismiss this argument as well.

But we should note how often this type of argument is made, and we should understand the racist assumption behind this thinking. The assumption is that those who fight for Palestinian human rights are disingenuous because Palestinians aren’t human beings and aren’t worth fighting for. Thus the only possible motivation for criticizing Israel for its treatment of Palestinians is hatred of Jews.

Both Ha’aretz and Barak Ravid owe the literate world an apology.

(h/t: R.B.)

About Phan Nguyen

Phan Nguyen lives in New York and has a Twitter account: @Phan_N

Other posts by .


Posted In:

14 Responses

  1. Les
    December 12, 2011, 11:38 am

    I thought Zionists shopped exclusively at our Congress supermarket where everyone and everything is for sale.

    • Daniel Rich
      December 12, 2011, 3:16 pm

      @ Les

      I laughed out loud when I read your comment, until I realized it was both true and sad.

      • American
        December 12, 2011, 4:57 pm

        Me too.

      • Kris
        December 12, 2011, 9:11 pm

        Me, too.

  2. Chu
    December 12, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Part of the strategy of keeping the tribe unified is by employing a fear based scheme that enables those on the fringe to stay close to the core. Sure it’s b/s, but it works psychologically.
    Recall that car being spray painted with swastikas in a heavy Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood last month. Are they ever going to find those culprits? seems a bit too close to home for that occurance. Reminds me of the film, The Village.
    The fear of Antisemitism is what’s kept many Jews unified throughout the centuries. Now it’s often used to reinforce the tribal numbers. Or this writer has nothing better to write about than lame associations.

  3. Richard Witty
    December 12, 2011, 4:15 pm

    “Finally, Ravid claims that the BDS campaign has nothing to do with supporting human rights and equality for Palestinians. Instead, it is motivated by hatred for Israel and is “promoting a boycott of anything that might even smell Israeli.” Since his sole example turns out to be a complete fabrication, we can dismiss this argument as well.”

    If you believe that his statement about the BDS campaign is innaccurate, can you please demonstrate that, rather than just dismiss it.

    Are you saying that the BDS campaign is an expression of love of Israel? Or, that it is consistently oriented specifically to products made in the territories?

    • Phan Nguyen
      December 12, 2011, 5:37 pm

      Witty, I just demonstrated it. Anything further would require me to address allegations that were not formulated in Ravid’s article. Allegations can’t be refuted until they’re made.

      As for your question: “[Are you saying the BDS campaign] is consistently oriented specifically to products made in the territories?”

      My answer is this: No, I’m not saying that. And why do I have to say it?

      Notice, Witty, that you are expecting me to counter arguments that you have not yet fully developed. I’m not going to make your arguments for you and then refute them, and it’s condescending to expect me to.

      If you want to make an argument, then make an argument. Don’t just imply one.

      • Richard Witty
        December 13, 2011, 7:50 am

        The point is that there is much and many in the BDS movement for whom his characterization of motivation is entirely accurate.

        You took one instance of questionable credibility, and dismissed every subsequent word.

        I could not stand that standard, and extremely likely, neither could you, if you look into it sincerely. (Not from knowledge of your individual case, just generalizing that everyone I know has made authoritative statements with less than confident basis.)

        How is the BDS movement NOT a statement of “we hate Israel”? How is it something different than that?

        If its not different than that, then Ravid nailed at least that piece of it.

      • Don
        December 13, 2011, 11:11 am

        “The point is that there is much and many in the BDS movement for whom his characterization of motivation is entirely accurate.”

        Perhaps a small bit of evidence for this statement??

      • Phan Nguyen
        December 13, 2011, 6:05 pm

        RW: “The point is that there is much and many in the BDS movement for whom his characterization of motivation is entirely accurate.”

        I asked you for an argument. You have given me an assertion.

        Witty, I know your game, and I’m not playing it, and no one else seems to be doing so either. It’s too predictable and it goes like this:

        1. You say you’re not satisfied with someone’s arguments.
        2. They provide you with more arguments.
        3. You say that’s not good enough.
        4. They provide you with more arguments.
        5. And so on.

        You expect other people to run around in circles and prove themselves to you while you make no effort to prove any assertion you make. That way, you hold the higher ground as the arbiter of the debate.

        At least Ravid made up a funny story to prove his point. Can you come up with a funnier one? I betcha you can’t. I betcha! And can you do a handstand at the same time?

      • Mooser
        December 13, 2011, 6:13 pm

        “Witty, I know your game, and I’m not playing it, and no one else seems to be doing so either. It’s too predictable and it goes like this:
        1. You say you’re not satisfied with someone’s arguments.
        2. They provide you with more arguments.
        3. You say that’s not good enough.
        4. They provide you with more arguments.
        5. And so on.
        You expect other people to run around in circles and prove themselves to you while you make no effort to prove any assertion you make. That way, you hold the higher ground as the arbiter of the debate.

        Well expressed, Phan. I thank you. I can’t get past my anger at Wiity’s arrogance, presumption, and his almost sadistic attacks on the English language to express it as concisely, simply and dispassionately as you do.

    • Donald
      December 12, 2011, 5:52 pm

      “can you please demonstrate that, rather than just dismiss it.

      Are you saying that the BDS campaign is an expression of love of Israel? Or, that it is consistently oriented specifically to products made in the territories?”

      Richard, can you demonstrate that the founding of Israel wasn’t based on a racist contempt for the rights of Palestinians? If you believe this is false, can you please demonstrate that, rather than just dismiss it? Are you saying that Israel’s existence is an expression of love of Palestinians?

  4. J. Otto Pohl
    December 13, 2011, 6:28 am

    Hummus an Israeli good? It is not enough to steal the Palestinians’ land they have to also steal credit for their cuisine?

  5. LeaNder
    December 13, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Barack Ravid,:

    Barak Ravid is still (2011) described as “the diplomatic correspondent” for Haaretz. However, he seems more like the paper’s mouthpiece for the Israeli army.

Leave a Reply