Members of the Park Slope Food Co-op turned out in droves last night to hear arguments for and against a resolution to have a referendum of all members on boycotting Israeli products. The pro-boycott measure lost, 1005 to 635. Here is the New York Times account.
Here’s a statement from Park Slope Food Coop members for BDS:
We are saddened to announce that the Park Slope Food Co-op will not at this time be holding a membership-wide referendum on whether to join the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and other violations of Palestinian rights.
Many people came out last night and spoke with bravery and conviction about the importance of continuing this conversation through the process of a referendum. Our supporters have stood strong for months now in the face of both verbal and physical assaults outside the co-op, misinformation in the co-op publication the Gazette, a number of media reports downplaying the strength of our movement and misrepresenting our goals and motivations, and a slanderous and outrageous verbal attack from Mayor Bloomberg in the final hours before the vote.
Although we finished with a very significant level of support, almost 40%, the results of the vote show that there remains much work to do in our efforts to educate co-op members on the importance of BDS. Despite our loss tonight, we have succeeded in one of our goals: BDS has entered the consciousness of thousands of co-op members and others who had never heard the term before.
We remain committed to getting the facts out about the struggle for peace and justice for Palestinians, and the important role the nonviolent BDS movement has to play in that struggle.
Here’s a statement from boycott leader Omar Barghouti:
Chapeau to supporters of Palestinian rights in New York, particularly those who are members of the Park Slope Co-op, for their heroic efforts and principled position.While our partners in NY lost the vote — for now — one cannot but be very impressed with the actual result: 40% with us and 60% against us, that is a 2:3 ratio. If this is an indicator of support for BDS in Park Slope, an affluent Jewish neighborhood of NY, as everyone likes to remind us, then the movement is doing quite well. No wonder soft Zionists, like Peter Beinart, are terrified!