Earlier this week, the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn held a general meeting at which it passed a measure to require a super-majority of 75 percent on resolutions to boycott products at the coop, as opposed to a simple majority. The 75 percent rule is aimed at holding back the forces that want to boycott Israeli goods. Four years ago, those forces lost a vote to hold a membership-wide referendum on a boycott of Israeli goods by about 60-40. Israel supporters surely feel that the margin was too close for comfort. Thus the 75 percent firewall.
I’m told that the meeting at a Brooklyn school on Tuesday night was jammed and that pro-boycott forces lodged numerous complaints about the procedure– for instance, that the 75 percent rule is a change to the bylaws, and bylaws can’t be changed without a two-thirds vote. And also, that the Food Coop has been footdragging about holding a vote on a resolution from last spring to boycott Sodastream products, the seltzer-maker manufactured in occupied territories. But still the 75 percent rule went through.
This is sad news and also not the end of the story. The Park Slope Food Coop is a great progressive institution that has boycotted other problematic goods in the past, no problem; by shutting down Israeli boycott, it’s demonstrating its PEP Pedigree — Progressive Except Palestine. The vote is surely a reflection of the attachment to Israel of the Jewish community. And if you live in Brooklyn, the Food Coop is a special place; it’s hard to find better, cheaper foodstuffs.
It’s not the end of the story because Palestinian human rights are too important for young American progressives to trample them any longer. And speaking of the battle inside the Jewish community, our friend Sarah Wellington, a Jewish anti-Zionist, will be giving a talk tomorrow at the coop on her efforts to boycott Israeli goods. That’s her flyer at the top of this piece.