Sunday, May 8, 2016

BDS Does Not Belong in the Park Slope Food Coop

I submitted the following letter to the Coop's biweekly newspaper., the Linewaiters' Gazette (LWG).  It was rejected for publication. I will address the reasons given for rejection in a separate post.
“Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers,” someone wrote on a bathroom wall at UC Berkeley – ground-zero of the BDS movement in the United States. “Death to Israel,” “Kill all the Jews” and multiple swastika graffiti have also been found on the Berkeley campus. These are the fruits of the hate promoted by the BDS movement.

Apparently it is a crime worthy of genocide to recognize the Jewish People as a distinct national group with a unique history, language, and culture, and to support their right to self-determination and self-preservation as an indigenous people in a portion of their ancestral homeland that is source of their culture. Further, by calling for this genocide is to be carried out using the same mechanism specifically designed by the Nazis for the extermination of the Jews 75 years earlier, the writer implies approval for the actual murder of one-third of world Jewry.

In our own Coop, a BDS supporting member has publicly expressed the desire that Orthodox Jews not be Coop members. In the Gazette, BDS members have:
  • called for the support of a leading member of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (3/8/12,p.6).
  • equated Israel with Nazi Germany (12/11/14, p.7).
  • told Jews how they should understand their Jewishness (8/21/14, p.13 & 10/30/14, p.13)
  • called for the dismantling of Israel (6/16/11, p. 10).
None of this has any relation to Palestinian human rights. None of this can be called “criticism of Israel.”

Well-intentioned people may support the BDS movement because they believe they are supporting Palestinian human rights. However, the BDS movement does not promote rights or democracy. It seeks to portray Israel’s very existence as incompatible with human rights. In doing so, it works to justify attacks upon Israel and Israel’s supporters.

In April, former U.S. Treasury Terrorism Analyst Jonathan Schanzer testified before Congress that the funders of the BDS movement in the US were also funders of Hamas, the terrorist group whose charter calls not only for the elimination of Israel but also the murder of ALL JEWS everywhere. The BDS movement is a part of a century-old effort of an elite, despotic Arab leadership to maintain its hegemony. The BDS movement works to further entrench a Palestinian leadership that has enriched itself through the prolongation of the conflict at the expense of the Palestinian people.

This is why so many of us oppose the BDS movement, and why I labeled it a “vicious racist movement.” This is not speech that should be protected in the Coop. The GCs’ decision to no longer allow the use of the meeting room for BDS-related activities is a wise one and a step in the right direction for returning normalcy to the Coop.

If you agree it is time to end the promotion of the BDS movement in the Food Coop, then please add your name to my petition.