Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Would You Do With $4,000?

$4,000 is a pretty nifty chunk of cash for most people.

It could be a really nice vacation.  A decent used car.  Rent money.  A semester at CUNY with change to spare.

For a $45,000,000 business like the Park Slope Food Coop, it's pocket change.

It could be a nice donation to CHIPS.  It could be 25% of the new Coop start-up loan fund.  It could be a silent alarm system at the front desk for the entrance worker to discretely notify the office if someone is stuffing merchandise into the front lockers.  That might take a bite out of the $250,000 annual loss to theft.

$4,000 are the expenses associated with holding our meeting to vote on the vote at the Brooklyn Technical High School auditorium.  After all, BDS is so very important to the Coop and our joining it will be so beneficial  it is worth every penny - NOT.

I want to get my $4,000 worth.  Please come out and vote NO.  I want to clean their clock.

The Tweeter at the February GM

Last night's general meeting was tweeted by Reuters Opinion senior editor Chadwick Matlin.  What a hoot!  I nearly choked on my granola.

I like anyone who can make me laugh.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Lightening Rod

Glenn Beck has chimed in on the upcoming "vote on the vote" as it is getting called.  This has brought the attention of Huffington Post, among others.  According to the original reporting in the Brooklyn Paper:
“What is happening with the food co-op where they are seriously considering a boycott of Israel?” he said, likening the suggested ban to a subtle version of drawing swastikas. “When you use words like ‘I’m just anti-Israel’ or ‘I’m just anti-Zionist’ — that’s anti-Semitic.”
In blogosphere language this has been turned into Beck calling the Park Slope Food Coop, itself, anti-Semitic.  From there writers are calling ALL the Coop members anti-Semitic for the activity of just SOME.

I discussed BDS and anti-Semitism a while ago.  For BDS to be considered not anti-Semitic, they would have to show:
  1. Either BDS does not oppose the existence of Israel as a Jewish State or that opposing the right of self-determination for Jews is not anti-Semitic.
  2. BDS does not deny the unique historic connection between Jews and the Land of Israel.
  3. That the conditions demanded by BDS do not endanger the physical safety of Jews.
  4. That there is a true commitment among the Palestinian leadership to live in peace with Jews, with full recognition of their rights.
  5. That BDS demands of the Arabs an end to the conflict.
I would now have to add to that list, they would not bring the author of a vicious Jew hating book to speak at the Coop.

The denial of my fellow Coop members is meaningless.  The BDS movement is anti-Semitic.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marching Orders from Divest This!

Our good friend at Divest This! has been part of more anti-BDS campaigns than you can count. He has documented the numerous failures and the unrestrained hubris of the movement for years. We are grateful for this pep talk from an experienced veteran. The whole thing is great, but here are two of my favorite parts.
Now keep in mind that this vote is not taking place because local BDSers convinced anyone of anything. Rather, they pushed for an Israel boycott referenda (similar to failed boycott appeals at places like Davis and Sacramento California), and when told that such a referenda would sicken and appall huge numbers of members they said, in effect, “So what?” And since the rules of most co-ops are rather loose, presuming as they do that members will act in good faith and not try to manipulate the organization for their own ends (at the expense of other members), the only way to close out a matter the BDSers will continue to push (regardless of the cost to others) was to let a vote on the referenda go forward.
And this:
Needless to say, attempts to prick the conscience of the BDSers over issues such as terrorist murders of Israelis or Arab deaths at the hands of Hamas or Assad will fall on deaf ears since the BDSers are indifferent to Israeli life and even Palestinian lives are only measured in terms of their usefulness to “the movement”. But arguments directed over the boycotters heads to the general membership can be as effective in Park Slope as they have been everywhere else.

And that message is: why the hell should a group of single-issue partisans be allowed to speak on behalf of the thousands of members of an institution that BDS had no role in building? After all, the boycotters are free as individuals to not buy all the Israeli products they like. And they’re even free to start their own co-op and build into its charter the refusal to ever let an Israeli orange or seltzer dispenser stain their shelves.

Ah, but that’s not what they want, is it? They want to be able to claim that their minority opinion represents the will of thousands of members of a respected organization, and thus give their propaganda message unearned weight.
Go read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Busy Day

The day began with an article in the Wall Street Journal reporting on the upcoming vote at the General Meeting.  The news is spreading through the blogosphere and reporters are contacting me.  By afternoon I received an email from Metro asking for 150 words on why to oppose BDS.  Here is what I submitted:

The BDS movement does nothing to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, or improve the lives of Palestinians.  Peace will come through a negotiated settlement between the 2 parties that will include mutual recognition of rights and national aspirations.  The BDS leadership works against peace by rejecting all cooperative endeavors between Israelis and Palestinians.  By placing all blame on one party only, and by ignoring context, the BDS movement serves to bolster the most rejectionist elements of the Palestinian cause.

The 3 demands of BDS are based on a faulty understanding of the relevant international law.  The real goal of BDS is to end the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.  Thus, BDS has been rejected over and over by every institution where it has tried to get an honest endorsement.  BDS looks forward to yet another stunning defeat at the Park Slope Food Coop.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gearing Up for Another Big BDS Fail

Ok, folks.  It's official.  The vote on holding a referendum to join BDS will take place on March 27.  The location is still to be confirmed.  However, the auditorium at Brooklyn Technical High School seems to be the number one candidate.  It seats 1,700 people.  Unless the Coop can't make arrangements for a meeting space, the vote on the referendum will occur March 27.

This is not a victory for BDS.  It is simply the Coop's policy to allow every member proposal, no matter how odious or ridiculous, to find its way to the General Meeting floor.  It is perhaps a flaw in the Coop's governance system.  That is a different debate.  However, as explained to me by the Agenda Committee, an end to the debate is considered to be in the best interest of the Coop.

So, now is the time to mobilize.  Get out the word.  Let's add Park Slope Food Coop to the list of BDS Fails.

And please, donate.  We are going to need money for flyers to hand out at the General Meeting.  Just $5 buys us 100 flyers.  We need money for the expenses of the conference.  Please promote the conference.  Promote the March General Meeting.

Community Forum

The Panel:  Michael Walzer, Brooke Goldstein, Zuhdi Jasser,

Location:   Old First Reformed Church - Lower Hall, Carroll St. & 7th Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Date:         Sunday, March 4th, 2012,  2:00PM

Admission: Free   Suggested Donation at Door: $5

This post will remain at the top until March 4, 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Penn BDS Roundup

PennBDS has come and gone and the marathon posting of responses to each session by Divest This! is complete. The entire set of Divest This! posts , are available for download in PDF or Ebook form. It can also be read online in Scribd.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Great Concern of the BDS Movement for Human Rights

Some very cogent remarks on the BDS Movement by Sarit Catz at the New Jersey Jewish News
PennBDS and the entire BDS movement claim to be interested in promoting “the growing global campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction the State of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international and human rights law.” That’s what it says on the PennBDS website.

However, if they are concerned with violations of international and human rights law, it is notable that they focus none of their attention on known human rights violators and oppressive governments such as those that exist in North Korea, China, Sudan, Iran, or any others.

If PennBDS is specifically focused on the oppression of Arabs, then it is curious that they are not decrying the governments of Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, or others.

And if PennBDS is particularly disturbed only by the oppression of Palestinian Arabs, then one wonders why they are not protesting the governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, or others in which the Palestinians have suffered extreme discrimination, violence, and forced expulsions.

In Gaza, under the authority of Hamas, political freedom, religious freedom, and freedom of association are severely curtailed, women’s rights are limited, human rights activists are targeted, and homosexuality is a criminal offense.

Upon any serious consideration, it becomes clear that BDS actually has no problem with oppression, no problem with oppression of Arabs, and no problem with the oppression of Palestinian Arabs. BDS actually has a problem only with Israel and it can only be deduced that their problem is truly with Jews.