Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

Last night BDS Round 2 began in earnest at the Park Slope Food Coop.  In the fall, BDS team submitted this item for discussion at a General Meeting:
We propose that the Coop boycott SodaStream products, which are manufactured on an illegal Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Never mind that the plant at Mishor Adumim will stop production next week, and the discussion is meaningless, the group went on with its presentation of its item for discussion only, no vote. (See here for an explanation of PSFC democracy.)

The presentation was the usual parade of unsubstantiated BDS lies that are easily refuted.  The presentation also included slides of Israeli soldiers arresting people.  Slides presented without context and not related to SodaStream.

I am not proud of what happened next. I have a lot of criticisms to go around. But my harshest condemnations are for the people on my side.

Spontaneous audible protests from the audience began. The boos turned into chants of "Take Down the Pictures."

The Chair's call to order were ignored. People started getting out of their seats, and trying to block the screen and the projector. Shouting grew louder. Eventually, the Board of Directors came to the front of the room, and tried to call order.  Finally, the General Manager spoke, and order was somewhat restored.

The BDS group was allowed to continue the presentation.  There was continued heckling from the audience. The disruption lasted at lest a half hour.  There was a short comment period because time had run out for the meeting.  

This disruption was done by people I have known for years. People who were sitting near me. People who ignored me when I told them it was enough, it was time to stop.

There are no excuses for this behavior. The people who did this, the people who wouldn't stop the shouting and the heckling, they need to apologize. Publicly. It was wrong. I apologize for any contribution I had towards this.

There is a lot more to say about all of this, but that is for another time.