The Park Slope Food Co-op’s campaign to ban Israeli food products is a hate-spewing affront on the Jewish State that will injure the whole human race, conservative media personality Glenn Beck told a packed crowd in Crown Heights last night.
The Libertarian poster boy called the market’s proposed boycott on Israeli-made or grown products “anti-Semitic” at a fundraiser for a Jerusalem museum.
“What is happening with the food co-op where they are seriously considering a boycott of Israel?” he said, likening the suggested ban to a subtle version of drawing swastikas. “When you use words like ‘I’m just anti-Israel’ or ‘I’m just anti-Zionist’ — that’s anti-Semitic.”
Supporters of Israel crowded into a Razag Ballroom, a Jewish community center and wedding hall, to hear the man famous for his chalkboard-abetted rants, fits of crying, and theories about progressives discuss subjects such as evil-doing, Israel’s right to defend itself, and on-air use of the word “Nazi.”
Over 200 people — yarmulke-clad politicians, justice-seeking authors and big-name lawyers — came to raise money for the Gush Katif Museum, which commemorates controversial eviction of Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip, but stayed for Beck’s speech.
The former Fox News host and current internet TV pundit earned loud applause and coverage from several news stations, but Food Co-op members were not as enthusiastic.
Some fired back that Beck was simply capitalizing on the attention — and commenting on a subject about which he knows little.
“People at the Co-op are very open-minded,” said Co-op member Steve Dobkin, who is Jewish and defended the shop’s progressive thinking. “I’d like to boycott him.”
Beck’s speech comes after a Co-op vote this week that revived calls for the purveyor of all-things-organic to sanction Israel for alleged human rights violations against Palestinians, the way the Union Street grocery banned South African products during apartheid, and, more recently, plastic bags.
The rule was first proposed three years ago in the shop’s newsletter, sparking international media attention and prompting gripes from hummus and paprika-loving foodies, some of whom called the plan anti-Semitic way before Beck — who is neither Jewish nor a Co-op member — hit Brooklyn.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park), who attended the event on East New York Avenue, echoed Beck’s idea.
“You have some idiots in Brooklyn,” he said.
But after the speech, some event-goers said the subject was more nuanced than the way Beck had framed it.
“He might just be playing to the crowd,” said audience member Yosef Sehwartz.