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Park Slope Food Co-op Israeli Food Ban

Ban slammed! Park Slope Food Co-op votes no on Israeli food ban

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Park Slope Food Co-op’s wildly controversial campaign to adopt a storewide ban on Israeli-made food products died at an initial vote on Tuesday.

Members of the shopper-run, politically active grocery store voted 1,005–653 against scheduling an official vote on the hummus boycott, saying it unfairly singles out Israel — and that politics don’t belong on the dinner table.

“If you don’t like something don’t buy it — but keep politics out of the Co-op,” said member Levi Capland.

Hundreds of shop members, from sign-waving demonstrators to breast-feeding moms, joined reporters from Jewish publications and national new outlets in a packed room at Brooklyn Technical High School as grocery store patrons cast ballots on the proposed boycott.

Protesters stormed the high school, waving anti- and pro-Israel signs outside the private meeting, where members gave tense, emotionally charged testimony about whether the store should ban Israeli-made goods including hummus, paprika, and olive spread due to the country’s alleged human rights violations against Palestinians.

Some members backed up that idea, saying the store should act socially responsible.

“I feel I have a moral responsibility to vote for [the ban] because of a trip I took to Palestine,” said Dennis James, who claims he saw bullet-riddled hospitals and bombed out buildings.

The high-profile vote this week prompted neighborly rifts, political grandstanding, and more news coverage than some actual elections.

Members first proposed the boycott — which would have cleaned the shelves of about six products such as Osem couscous and Meditalia basil pesto — three years ago in the store newsletter.

It’s not the first time the 1,600-member shop has voted to ban products. The Park Slope Food Co-op banned South African products during apartheid and, more recently, plastic bags.

Some critics have called the plan anti-Semitic, including conservative TV personality Glenn Beck and Mayor Bloomberg. (perhaps the only thing the two can agree on).

In the hours before the heated meeting, an angry man stormed the manager’s office at the grocery store, demanding a chance to vote — prompting a visit from the cops.

Others think it’s not quite so complicated.

“I’m happy we can have our hummus and eat it, too,” Capland said.

This is a breaking news story — check back for the latest news on the Park Slope Food Co-op’s vote.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

anywho says:
Wow these knuckleheads thought they were going to make a change.
March 28, 2012, 6 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
a tempeh in a teacup.
March 28, 2012, 10:37 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am glad that they voted against the boycott. It really showed that there were those with a brain in there to know the truth. The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is nothing but built on lies that many anti-Semitic groups continue to believe even though it has been proven false countless times. Why is there no call for a boycott on China for attacking the Tibetan Monks or Turkey or Iraq for doing genocide on the Kurds, which is the true oppression? When was the last time, Kurds or Tibetan Monks used act of terror on innocent civilians, which is what the Palestinians do a lot? In reality, the boycott would do nothing but just show another anti-Israel propaganda. Once again, the vote was decided by a landslide, not a split decision.
March 28, 2012, 3:08 pm
norman from Park Slope says:
"The Park Slope Food Co-op’s wildly controversial campaign to adopt a storewide ban on Israeli-made food products died at an initial vote on Tuesday."

The campaign was NOT The Park Slope Food Co-op’s campaign. The campaign was pushed by an outside group, not the Co-Op itself.

What a disasterous sentence. Language skills continue to plumet at the Brooklyn Paper.
March 29, 2012, 10:14 am
norman from Park Slope says:
"The Park Slope Food Co-op’s wildly controversial campaign to adopt a storewide ban on Israeli-made food products died at an initial vote on Tuesday."

The campaign was NOT The Park Slope Food Co-op’s campaign. The campaign was pushed by an outside group, not the Co-Op itself.

What a disasterous sentence. Language skills continue to plumet at the Brooklyn Paper.
March 29, 2012, 10:14 am
Mirele Rosenberger from Brooklyn says:
Please note that the membership of the Park Slope Food Coop is 16,000, not 1,600 as was reported in this article.
March 29, 2012, 10:20 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Norman, I wouldn't be surprised if those who pushed for the boycott over at that co-op were probably funding Hamas. As a matter of fact, there have been many so-called solidarity groups that are not just known for funding terrorists groups that attack Israel, but have been known for even hiding terrorists over at their Israel offices. When Israel cracked down on these groups, that was another example of how counter terrorism works, which includes stopping where the funds come by from tracing their origins. Before anyone defends the flotillas, they weren't sailing into the Gaza Strip to give food, they were trying to give them weapons, and the reason for the blockade was because of that especially when they have direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. BTW, harboring terrorism is illegal according to international laws, and Hamas is no exception to this.
March 29, 2012, 4:21 pm
Ethan Pettit from East Williamsburg says:
Thank you norman from Park Slope. Yes, pretty shabby journalism. The proposed boycott was not the initiative of a 1,600 member food coop. It was the initiative of some members of a 16,000 member food coop. Big difference here.
March 29, 2012, 6:50 pm

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