Sunday, January 20, 2013

Exhibit #1 - Khader Adnan

Khader Adnan is a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Islamist terror organization.   According to the Council on Foreign Relations:
Designated as a U.S. State Department terrorist organization in 1997, the PIJ targets Israeli civilian and military personnel in its commitment to the creation of an Islamic regime in “all of historic Palestine,”

The PIJ advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means; it approaches the Arab-Israeli conflict as an ideological war, not a territorial dispute. PIJ members see violence as the only way to remove Israel from the Middle East map and reject any two-state arrangement in which Israel and Palestine coexist.
PIJ is responsible for dozens of suicide bomber attacks inside Israel.  It has recruited children for suicide missions.  PIJ operatives fired hundreds of rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilians in 2012.

This video of Khader Adnan was filmed at the funeral of one of PIJ's senior commanders in October 2007.

You can watch it with subtitles or just read the transcript:
O Quds Brigades, Strike a blow!
O Quds Brigades, Shake the earth!
Who among you is "Hasan Abu Zeid"?*
Who among you is the next suicide bomber?
Who among you will carry the next explosive belt?
Who among you will fire the next bullets?
Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?
*Suicide bomber who murdered 5 Israelis in Hadera in October 2005.

So, why would a supporter of the "non-violent" BDS movement write in a March 8, 2012,  Linewaiters' Gazette member contribution to "please think about Khadar [sic] Adnan" when voting on the BDS referendum?

The author, Tara, identifies Adnan only as "on his 62nd day of hunger strike protesting Israel’s detention of him without charge or trial."   Tara doesn't mention his ties to the terrorist group responsible for the murders of scores of innocent Israelis.

Israel uses administrative detention when an imminent risk to the country’s security is believed to exist.  The process is conducted under full judicial review by Israel’s military and the Supreme Court.  European countries and the United States use administrative detention, as well.  The process is legal under international law, according to the fourth Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Was Tara unaware of Adnan's connection to PIJ or did she intentionally conceal it?  It doesn't matter.  Whoever introduced Adnan as talking point into the BDS repertoire knew exactly who he is and what he stands for.

Sorry, but there is no justification for supporting a terrorist group at the Park Slope Food Coop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taking Off My Gloves

The Park Slope Food Coop runs on the good will of its members.  We show up for our shifts on time faithfully and we work diligently.  We are patient when the store is crowded and the lines are long.  While the products are not as difficult to obtain in other stores as they once were, the savings are still substantial.

It all works because there is the expectation that all are welcome and there should be mutual respect for boundaries and sensibilities.  I have written previously about the importance of neutral spaces.

BDS is a hate movement.  Plain and simple.  It has no place in our coop.  It should never have come up for discussion.  The people who brought it and continue to submit letters to the Linewaiters' Gazette are violating our community's core values.

In my letter to the Gazette Editors, I stated:
These anti-Israel letters are harmful to the community.  They contain distortions, misrepresentations and false statements.  The letters are designed to instill hatred; the content is at times anti-Semitic.
I suggested the editors either implement guidelines that included:
exact definitions for what crosses the boundaries from legitimate discussion to any form of hate speech or racism
or - if enforcing guidelines is too onerous for a grocery store newspaper - put a moratorium on these letters.  

As I mentioned last time, my letter received 2 responses from BDS supporters.  Here is where it gets interesting and we see the logic-challenged thought process of the BDS advocates.

Naomi tries the "change-the-subject" deflection:
the author implies that those who criticize the actions of the Israeli government and military are “anti-Semitic.” This is a common denunciation offered by those who defend Israeli policies.
But I didn't imply anything, did I?  I didn't mention Israel's policies, at all.  I quite clearly stated the letters are designed to instill hatred.  A pretty serious charge left unanswered.

David uses the deflection, punctuated with a denial and sprinkled with arrogance(emphasis mine):
And it should not be assumed that the 60% represented uniform sympathy for the Israeli government’s position, and even less so that many believed anti-Semitism motivated the boycott backers, perhaps the most absurd of all the anti-boycott advocates’ claims. One would be hard-pressed to find actual expressions of anti-Semitism and hate in the pro-boycott letters (all available for review in the Gazette archive on the Coop’s website) as opposed to the ubiquitous accusations of them in the anti-boycott letters. What’s obvious from those letters is that any and all questioning of the Israeli government’s actions should be viewed as anti-Semitism and hate, a sort of presumptive reading between the lines and pop-psychoanalyzing.
David is addressing things that I didn't say.  Aside from that, one wouldn't have to look very hard at all to find "actual expressions of anti-Semitism."  So, I hope to use the next several posts to list them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

When You Lose, You Don't Win - You Just Lose

Even though the BDS initiative at the Park Slope Food Coop was soundly defeated last March, one pro-BDS Coop member continues to submit a letter to each issue of the Linewaiters' Gazette. These letters portray purely innocent, powerless Palestinians oppressed by a purely evil, guilty Israel. The content is inaccurate and incomplete. After about 8 months of this I submitted my own letter to the editors suggesting the development of clear guidelines for BDS letters.  If instituting fair guidelines is too onerous for grocery store newspaper, then perhaps a moratorium on BDS submissions is more appropriate for the Gazette.

My letter generated 2 responses; one from a "David", one from a "Naomi."  Both objected to my characterization of the BDS defeat in March 2012 as an "overwhelming rejection."  The BDS proposal obtained the support of less than 4 percent of the membership.  Among the self-selected, highly motivated 10% of the membership who attended the March General Meeting, BDS was defeated by a margin of 3 to 2.

BDS supporters are hardly the first people to try to spin a loss into some kind of victory. The "even though we lost, we won because...." meme is well documented at the Divest This! blog.  BDS supporters hate to be told they have lost.

But, what about the remaining 90% of members who, for whatever reasons, chose not to attend.  Can we assume anything about that?  David speculates it reflects “fatigue and burn out over the drawn-out debate, the desire that the issue just go away.”  That sounds like a rejection to me.

Naomi comes to a different conclusion:
I think this vote showed us how the General Meeting system of decision-making is flawed as a democratic process. About 6% of members were able to prevent the whole Coop from voting on this issue.
Really? 6% stopping the referendum is bad, and 4% pushing it forward is ok?  Really?

Can anyone say "sore loser"?