Sunday, March 25, 2012

Coop Vote on Israeli Products Is Not Democratic

The following was written by Coop member Richard:

The coop newsletter calls this meeting on a referendum vote a shining example of the democratic process. It is not. It is a shining example of discrimination, which is contrary to the principles of our Mission statement and contrary to democratic principles. It singles out one nation based on one's political view of them and introduces this as a constant element in coop decision making.

Further, the motion is not democratic because it puts in jeopardy my and others' right to buy Israeli products, or for Israel to sell them here. If you want to protest Israel, don't buy their stuff or tell your friends not to buy their stuff. If you want to call for a boycott, stand outside with your leaflets, at least 20 feet from the entrance, and do your thing. Or call for a debate somewhere on the topic. But don't force your political viewpoint on us and the entire coop.

It also sets a dangerous precedent, allowing or encouraging other groups to call for referendums against countries they don't like based on those countries' political positions. Thus, everyone's right to buy products they like from various countries may be put in jeopardy--African Americans for buying from African countries; Arabs from Arab countries; etc. And having more referendum meetings of a political nature like this will create disruption and waste everyone's valuable time.

The coop can decide against a farm or some organization if they produce products of questionable safety, according to our mission statement. This has not been proven against the Israeli products. Furthermore, they are going after an entire country, one that is a US ally and a democratic nation.

By making politics the reason for deciding coop food buying policies, this Arab-supporting group is introducing divisiveness into a harmonious setting; not only are they not peace-loving, but they thrive on this divisiveness and publicity because it calls attention to their propaganda and one-sided cause. They are bringing the political ills of the world into the food coop's decision-making process, which can threaten to split us asunder. Even the co-founder of the food coop opposes this motion.

The coop newsletter article also mentions that Israel "only" has a few products that are sold here, as if boycotting Israel is an insignificant act for this reason. It is not the case. Even if Israel only had one damn salt shaker on our shelves, I would still defend their right to sell it, as I would any country's. True democracy is defending the minority against the majority. By defending Israel's right to sell, you also defend other countries right to sell--and the opposition will be surprised to know that this includes Arab products as well.

Moreover, on the "only a few products" topic, why has a boycott not been brought up before when the United States invaded Iraq, which so many in the coop and neighborhood opposed? Why didn't others boycott US products? Answer: because maybe the vast majority of the products at the coop are domestic, so we couldn't afford to. In other words, the BDS is picking on Israel because it's a small country with a small list of products and lacked the gumption to take on the US. In other words, the opposition are no more than bullies...And what about China and its continual infractions on human rights? Why haven't their products been boycotted? Or Venezuela? The list is endless.

This meeting should really be about ending this politicization of coop buying policies forever.

1 comment:

  1. Righteous indignation buys us nothing. News coverage, however, at least shines some light on this.

    It doesn't help when Peter Beinert foams at the mouth with distortions and directions to his fantasyland. The real challenge is to make people understand that a boycott economically penalized the Palestinian population more than it hurts Israel. But then again, they aren't really interested in helping the Palestinians build a viably economic state, are they?

    Such a conundrum. Not. If nothing else, this entire episode has awakened people to the reality that Israel AND the Palestinians are truly under economic attack from all sides.


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