To the members of the Park Slope Food Coop,
The vote you make matters more than you think.
On the surface, it matters little to the Israeli economy if soda stream seltzer makers and replacement cartridges, organic paprika, Israeli couscous, olive pesto or tapenade, vegan marshmallows and organic yellow peppers are no longer sold in a single store. Voting yes on the boycott will not bring down the country overnight.
However, your vote will support a negative influence in the Israel-Arab peace process. The leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement are not interested in ending the conflict. They do not seek to pressure Israel into compromising on a lasting peaceful agreement.
In plain words, the leaders of the BDS movement seek to destroy the nation state of Israel. This has been laid out in a previous entry in greater detail, and is even admitted to by those who are pushing forward this divisive issue.
One of the supporters of BDS for the Park Slope Boycott, Ora Weiss said in an interview with the Jewish Week:
“the struggle” for Palestinian rights wouldn’t end “until Palestinians have access to their entire homeland,” including Israel proper.
“The occupation goes much deeper” than just the West Bank, she added, and is part of Israel’s “colonization” of the area.
From the organizer’s own mouth, this is not about a two state solution with two people living side by side. This is saying that Israel must be hounded economically until death and destruction results. This is seeking to deny and demolish the existence of a sovereign nation, inhabited by a diversity of religion, culture, and language. No country should be subject to existential threats.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this will make a difference in Gaza and the West Bank. The Park Slope Coop will not help Palestinians if they decide to boycott Israeli products. You will only be joining forces with a movement that has a track record of hindering co-existence. Two examples out of many come to mind.
On August 6th, 2008 Israeli national trade union center Histadrut and Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions reached agreements to protect the rights of Palestinian workers employed by Israeli employers, and to promote joint projects, which facilitate “fraternity and coexistence between the two peoples.” This effort was denounced by BDS and abandoned.
In 2010, Palestinian and Jewish filmmakers joined together to produce a series of films for the 13th annual Tel Aviv University Film Festival. In the words of Palestinian director Murad Nesser, “to use art to reach for peace.” This effort was denounced by BDS and abandoned.
Clearly, this is not a movement interested in peace. If you truly wish to show solidarity with Palestinians, you must not divest but invest. Invest money to help grow the Palestinian economy and mutual cooperation between the two countries. Organizations such as the Valley of Peace Initiative, Lend For Peace and the Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry all work to provide a better future for all sides, by promoting employment and mutual cooperation, principles proudly displayed by the coop.
The co-op “thrives in part because of this transparency and open democracy.” Those are values Israel happily shares, with a free and open press and a representative democracy. Therefore, do not sully this proud organization with a hateful measure created by those who seek to prolong the war by egging on further incitement and violence.
Vote against BDS and for human rights and co-existence. Send a message to those who seek to destroy instead of build, which seeks to divide rather than bring together, which seeks to make enemies where only mutual respect can bring peace. The Park Slope Coop is not their partner.
Elke Weiss is a pro-Israel advocate, prolific blogger, and hails from New York where she’s currently working on her Masters of Science in Urban Affairs and Juris Doctor (2012). She is active in numerous causes to get Israel’s voice heard. Elke serves as Vice President and Board Member of the Federalist Society, and is a contributing blogger for the Jewish Press and Act For Israel. She is the recipient of the Hagshama Fellowship on Zionism from the Israeli Minister For Diaspora Affairs as well as the David Project Fellowship in Middle Eastern Studies.