Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our First Letter to the Linewaiters' Gazette

The May 19 issue of Linewaiters' Gazette had this letter from us.  We had 24 signatures.
We joined the coop for the food. We didn't join to have our politics decided for us. We didn't join to have ourselves identified with movements we find objectionable.  We joined for the food...and lots of it.

Sometimes we disagree with each other, even strongly.  Remember the controversies?  Expansion, cheese counter, shopping carts, meat, beer, plastic bags, Barney’s.  Nonetheless, together we work for the good of the store.  We have created a special place where many diverse people work together and form friendships.  We all share our interest in healthy food and we all want to see our coop thrive and prosper.
Yet, some people feel entitled to use our good reputation to promote their cause.  Some are so focused on their cause, they cannot see who will be hurt in the process.  We refer to the people who have submitted an item to the agenda committee to hold a referendum on joining the BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions of Israel) movement.

The promotion of this proposal, regardless of outcome, will alienate a substantial number of coop members.  Many will choose to leave because they will no longer feel welcomed.  Have the promoters of BDS considered the potential financial impact on the coop?  We have a legitimate right to a peaceful, conflict-free, profitable coop.

We oppose the forwarding of this item to the General Meeting and we call upon the submitters to voluntarily withdraw it, because we believe the coop is about food first, even food politics, but not geo-politics.  Our aisles are already filled with shoppers and carts; we don’t need soap boxes, too.  Give peas a chance.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gilad Shalit

On June 25th, 2006,  the 19-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by the terrorist organization Hamas. For the almost five years, he has been held captive illegally, in isolation, in unknown conditions. Hamas has forbidden him contact with the outside world, communication with his family, and basic humanitarian access from the Red Cross. These are clear violations of International Law, the Geneva Conventions and common human decency.

This September, the Palestinian Authority - which has united with Hamas - will seek approval from the United Nations to establish a state.  It is time for us to remind the world that no state should be established upon such crimes. We must exert pressure on the international community for Gilad's immediate release.

Money is being raised to erect a billboard near the UN, to remind the U.N. that they cannot continue to ignore these terrorist actions, bypass the peace process, and legitimize Hamas.

Click here to pledge money for this effort.  You will only be charged once enough money is raised.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A BDS Resolution Gets Withdrawn

From Stand With Us:
On April 13th, 2011, the Associated Students (AS), the official student representatives at UC San Diego, passed a resolution authored by Academic Senator Adi Singer, stating that it was not the place of the Associated Students to pass resolutions that will divide the campus community and alienate specific groups. The resolution called for neutrality of the student senate, and reinforced the mission statement of building a cohesive campus community, and representing a diverse but unified voice. Two weeks ago, Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) submitted a resolution calling upon the UC Regents to divest the retirement and pension funds from General Electric and Northrop Grumman, specifically because of their business dealings with the Israeli Defense Forces. Through intense lobbying of elected representatives an direct, peaceful dialogue with SJP,  the Tritons for Israel, a pro-Israel student group at UCSD, were able to achieve great success when last night, April 27th, SJP actually withdrew their divestment resolution, and it was not raised for consideration at the student senate.

In an opinion piece published in the campus paper today and authored by Tritons for Israel student leadership, "Tritons for Israel has always and will continue to stand for peace, dialogue, and justice. Divestment is not the way to a durable peace. Only by speaking to one another can we achieve a true understanding, and build the bridges necessary for a sustainable coexistence. Tritons for Israel hopes that we will someday have a willing partner in the struggle to achieve a sustainable end to the conflict, both in the Middle East and here on our campus."
If they can do it at UC San Diego, we can do it in Park Slope.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut

The celebration of Israel's independence begins tonight at sundown. 63 years.  We have a lot to be grateful for.  Most of us don't know a world without a Jewish State.  In spite of horrible opposition and existential threats, Israel has built a country that contributes to the world in science, technology and art.  It has a bustling economy and a high quality of life according to every measurement.

Israel does not have an official religion, but it does have a Jewish majority.

There are 47 states where Muslims are a majority.  23 of them are either Islamic states or Islam is the state religion.  Over 100 states where Christians are the majoriy, in 13 it is the official religion.  There are 3 states where Buddhism is the official religion.

There is only 1 Jewish State.
Elder of Ziyon has created a series of posters "This is Zionism" to honor Israel's Independence.  They are all wonderful.  Here are 2 of them:

Go and see all of them.  Elder also created the Apartheid Posters I used in the Apartheid Canard post.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Talking Points

1) Some coop members are attempting to use the food coop as a bull horn for promoting a position antagonistic to the State of Israel.   A second group of members, mostly Jews, disagree and believe this will be detrimental to the food coop.  So, the second group is organizing and using the democratic process within the food coop to prevent it from happening.  Is that a news story?  Is it so surprising for Jews to stand up for themselves?

2) For people who say the occupation is the sole problem:  Have you forgotten the occupation was an outcome of a war instigated by Egypt and Syria, with the intention of "driving the Jews into the sea"?  Jordan joined into that war, even though Israel warned them not to.  When the fighting stopped, Egypt, Syria and Jordan refused to make peace.  The Palestinian Authority turned down peace offers in 2000, 2002 and 2008.  The occupation continues because the Palestinians won't make peace.  Instead of making a deal with Israel, Mr. Abbas made a deal with Hamas, whose charter calls for killing Jews.  Not Zionists, not Israelis, but Jews.

Get it right:  Arab terror organizations are not opposed to Israel because of the occupation.  The occupation exists because of Arab terror.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BDS and Food Coops - Davis

A year ago, the board of the Davis Food Co-op was faced with a BDS initiative.  They determined that BDS was not appropriate for their coop and did not allow a member-wide vote to go forward.  I summarized their reasons in a letter published in the Linewaiters' Gazette in September 2010.
The Davis Food Coop was also faced with members suggesting the coop join the boycott. Davis’ by-laws require that the co-op’s board of directors first approve a vote by determining if the proposed question is legal and serves a e “proper purpose.” After research and discussion with the membership, the Davis board determined the boycott failed the “proper purpose” test. The board reasoned that participation in the boycott would conflict with the general principles of the international co-op movement (the Rochdale Principles) which emphasize “political (and religious) neutrality and the dangers of meddling in political (and religious) affairs.” It would require the organization to accept as truth statements that could, at best, be characterized as opinion or selective presentations of fact. Furthermore, the board noted that cooperatives “that have failed to abide by this essential principle of political neutrality have been harmed by the divisiveness that such issues cause among members.”
It is worthwhile to read the entire text of the Board's resolution.  The Davis Co-op ended up dedicating a full page of their web-site to the BDS issue and debate at their coop.  This is a preview for what is in store for us, if the proposal moves forward.

Buy Dorot chopped frozen herbs.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Hummus, Please

We joined the co-op for the food. We didn't join to have our politics decided for us. We didn't join to have ourselves identified with an organization that supports something we don't support. We joined for the food...and lots of it.

Today, we met. There were 19 of us who oppose the coop joining the BDS movement. We decided for every issue of Linewaiters' Gazette to submit a letter stating reasons why joining BDS is detrimental to the coop. We will all put our names on the letters.

Then we wanted a name for our group. We chose "More Hummus, Please." We want hummus...and local produce, organic vegetables, environmentally-friendly products and we want a pleasant store, where we will feel welcomed. Food brings people together.

In the spirit of food, and bringing people together, I share with you this video from the folks at Israel21c. "Taste of Peace" is a unique master chef's team based in Jerusalem, consisting of a Jewish, Arab Christian, Arab Muslim, and Armenian chef. They recently won several Gold Medals in the "Olympics of Cooking", the Villeroy and Boch Culinary World Cup, in Luxembourg. Here they cook a lavish meal together in a Jerusalem home. Video by Harvey Stein.

Four Jerusalem chefs - hey, where is the hummous?