The BDS campaign looms large in the press, but in America, it’s actually hard to find participants. Even liberal Jews who are outspoken critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians–the motive behind the boycotts–insist the BDS movement does more harm then good. So it’s a small wonder why the crunchy liberal munchers of the Park Slope Co-op–many of them Jews–are now debating whether to participate.
According to the New York Observer, the co-op’s board recently decided to hold a referendum on whether the Co-op should stop carrying Israeli-produced products: things like persimmons, lychees, and bath salts. One of the problems, though, is that board members aren’t sure which products they carry are actually produced in Israel.
(Sounds to me that, if there’s any boycott worth supporting, it’s in the name of localism–why the hell is a liberal Brooklyn co-op shipping in stuff from halfway around the globe to begin with?)
But the main compaints come, of course, from many of the co-op’s Jewish members.
As one Jewish member, Barbara Mazor, told the Observer, by way of denouncing the boycott idea: “I think they’re latching onto it like slogans. Like true believers, it’s the cool thing to do. You know, ‘I’m a progressive, and it’s a progressive cause,’ so I think that’s how it’s coming through, very thoughtlessly.”
Then there are those like Alan Dershowitz, who is not a member of the co-op, but was reached for comment anyway. He told the Observer about BDS supporters: "that’s what these people are, they’re bigots. Many of them are anti-Semites. Some of them don’t know they’re anti-Semites. That doesn’t give them a pass.”
He added that he would fight to shut down the co-op if they decided to join the BDS campaign. But when told that that might be difficult because he wasn’t a member of the co-op, and only members could dissolve it–so long as they didn’t break external laws (boycotts are legal, including the BDS, though not in Israel, where it was criminalized last month)–he said, basically, the hell with it.
“You have to fight fire with fire,” he said. “We will stop at nothing to make them pay an extraordinarily heavy price for their bigotry.”
Stay tuned. Looks like this one’s heating up.