Letters to the Editor

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ISRAEL: Perhaps it’s time to boycott the co-op

Letter by Martin Litwak, Olympia on Aug. 13, 2010 at 11:02 am with 9 Comments »
August 13, 2010 1:53 pm

Speaking as a 20-year family member of the Olympia Food Co-Op, I question how nine board members can speak for 15,000 members in their recent boycott of Israeli products. It seems unfair.

There are people like myself who believe nobody, including the co-op, can break the sacred bond of the Judeo-Christian connection with the American people. It’s one thing to say a country is behaving badly, but it’s another thing to condemn its people. Perhaps it’s time for like-minded and reasonable people to boycott the co-op.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Well said, Martin. Israel has made mistakes and there are dozens of active opinions within the coalition government like so many other countries, but until Hamass or Hissbollah reverse and apologize for the profanity in their founding charters, I will not knowingly buy or support in any way any ‘entity’ that boycotts Israel.
    Zion is a beautiful word.

  2. There were people who couldn’t understand boycotting South Africa either…….

  3. iamjimbo says:

    ….hmmm.

    What if someone who felt oppressed walked in there and said “hi”….

    BOOM! ?

    … “not much daylight”… you know.

  4. ij – I would be careful about putting forward “what if” scenarios…..not only does it seem to have not much daylight between yours and LuckyCharm’s “what if” posts, it could be interpreted by Homeland Security analysts as an incitement to terrorist activity.

    But……it would be more in keeping with Israel’s terrorism to just get a military outfitted Caterpillar and raze the building…..or drop some white phosphorus.

  5. iamjimbo says:

    You’d have a point “if” I habitually strained an anology or argument using the “what if”…
    Homeland security?

  6. Zillahboy says:

    Does the co-op boycott products from China? If not, why not. Unlike Israel, which is our only true friend in the Middle East, China certainlly doesn’t wish us well.

  7. hensandducks says:

    Other businesses commit worse crimes.

  8. 2. Israel is committing crimes against humanity in its ongoing, illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and perpetuation of an apartheid system. Massive Israeli violence against civilians has only increased in recent years. International pressure has proven insufficient to change Israeli policies.
    3. Boycott is a moral, nonviolent strategy for change. It is a campaign in which ordinary citizens throughout the world can make their voices heard.
    4. It is not effective to boycott only Israeli products from the illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, as the Israeli and settlement economies are completely integrated, and crimes against Palestinians occur within Israel as well as within the occupied territories.
    5. Boycott is not a form of punishment of the Israeli Jewish population; rather, it is consumers’ organized refusal to support the Israeli economy as long as Palestinians, both in Israel and the Occupied Territories, are subject to an all-encompassing system of discrimination.
    6. Include parts of your testimony from the 8/12 forum at the Olympia Center.
    7. If you are Jewish it is especially important to challenge the assumption of Tacoma News Tribune and The Olympian that certain groups speaks for the South Sound Jewish Community. It’s actually very diverse and does not hold a monolithic view on Palestine and Israel or the boycott.
    8. Make a reference to the resources on the Olympia BDS site, such as the video statement by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb in support of the boycott, and the letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Reference Phan Nguyen’s oped in The News Tribune.
    9. From Rochelle Gause’s email prior to the Olympia Center event:
    “The co-op has a specific boycott policy that we have been following to the tee for 2 years, a policy designed to help the co-op remain true to its mission statement of encouraging economic and social justice. Human rights abuses are happening daily, there are no words for the reality on the ground and we truly are responsible with our tax dollars, at the price tag of $940,000 from Olympia alone to Israel each year… The boards decision has not prevented any discussion, in fact, I believe it has started a much needed dialogue in our community.
    “Boycott has proven successful in so many situations in the past, from the Montgomery Bus boycott for civil rights, to the Grape boycott for farmworkers rights. And recently a South African delegation traveled to Palestine and returned calling for boycott of Israel saying some of the conditions they saw were worse than under South African apartheid. It is time to act!”

    Additional information

    * The Olympia BDS website
    * Why Boycott? From the Co-op website.
    * Steve Niva’s article about the co-op boycott.
    * Linda Frank’s letter to the editor in support of the boycott.
    * More letters on the subject
    * FAQ about boycott from IMEU, The Institute for Middle East Understanding
    * 2-page Olympia BDS flyer about boycott
    * And the Palestine Solidarity Seattle website page on boycott

    Additional Reminders in Regards to Letters to the Editor

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    Thanks for all your support, and thanks for listening!

    Olympia BDS
    http://www.olympiabds.org
    contact@olympiabds.org

  9. Ali Abunimah on… “Boycott: A Nonviolent Technology for Peace and Justice in Palestine/Israel”

    Tuesday, August 31, 7-9 pm, The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia NW

    For all the dialogues, discussions, and debates around the Olympia Food Co-op’s recent boycott of Israeli goods, one party’s voice has been shamefully excluded — that of Palestinians. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, is one of the most prominent Palestinian-American commentators on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is coming to Olympia to explain why boycott is an important component for peace and justice for Palestine and Israel.Ali Abunimah has published articles in the newspapers such as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Democracy Now!, and other news programs. Abunimah was born to a refugee mother from the eradicated Palestinian village of Lifta and a father from Battir in the currently occupied West Bank. “My parents taught me the importance of standing up for your rights but doing so in a way that is not tribal,” says Abunimah. “The Palestinian issue is about universal rights and about equality for everyone.”
    “But it’s precisely because of this sort of ignorance that BDS efforts are needed: to educate the public that the situation in Palestine/Israel is not about “Arab or Muslim vs. Jew” nor even about “Palestinians vs. Israelis.” It is a struggle against a system of oppression and apartheid that privileges Israeli Jews at the expense of Palestinians, violating Palestinians’ most fundamental rights. The premise of the BDS movement is that the key to ending the conflict is for Israel to respect the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people and comply with international law. BDS is a tactic, not an end in itself. The goal is to get to justice, human rights, and equality for all.

    Indeed, the Palestinian civil society’s BDS call makes clear this is a universalist movement that sees anyone who supports universal human rights as a potential ally. Thus it explicitly invites “conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.” And some courageous Israelis, have already done so, launching Boycott From Within.” Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, is one of the most prominent Palestinian-American commentators on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is coming to Olympia to explain why boycott is an important component for peace and justice for Palestine and Israel. Ali Abunimah has published articles in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera and other television news programs. Abunimah was born to a refugee mother from the eradicated Palestinian village of Lifta and a father from Battir in the currently occupied West Bank.

    SPECIAL NOTE: For those of you who have attempted to derail previous BDS-related events, please don’t try to get this event canceled through threats and intimidation. The plane ticket has already been bought. We work really hard on this stuff, and it’s not nice of you to try to ruin it. We don’t try to cancel your events.

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