After a dramatic lead-up that included passionate campaigns and weeks of canvassing on both sides from Coop members and local politicians, the members of the Park Slope Food Coop voted down the opportunity to vote on whether or not Israeli products should be banned from the store. A vote of 'yes' might have meant that Coop shoppers would have had to go elsewhere (providing the referendum that would have followed also got a 'yes' vote) for "Sodastream seltzer maker and replacement cartridges, organic paprika, Israeli couscous, olive pesto or tapenade, vegan marshmallows and organic yellow peppers."
The members of the Park Slope Food Coop rejected 1005 to 653 the following proposal: "We propose that the Coop hold a referendum to decide whether we will participate in the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to support Palestinian human rights." Therefore, the Coop will not be holding a Coop-wide referendum to decide if the Coop will join the BDS movement. At this time, neither a referendum on this issue nor joining the BDS movement is pending on the agenda of the General Meeting. Any future information about this issue will be posted here.
Coop member Gilly Youner told The Atlantic Wire that she was "not surprised it was voted down, but [I] was glad it was decisive. Now my wish is that more of us, informed and concerned, would continue to press on the issues that need to be addressed in the peace process on both sides of the aisle... Just not in the shopping aisle."
Chadwick Matlin covered the meeting for New York magazine's Daily Intel, writing that more than 2,000 members showed up, so many that "It took nearly two hours to get everyone in the door."
"What followed," Matlin writes, "was nearly two hours of a community in conflict with itself. There had been so much hype, so much expectation, so much plotzing over the past six months that the boycott issue had grown far larger than the coop. It had become about what Park Slope—no, Brooklyn—no, New York City—no, America thought about Israeli-Palistinian politics. This vote—this vote to have a vote—was about the kind of beacon the coop wanted to be. Did it really care about being a progressive organization? And if so, what was the more progressive option? The one that excluded Israel in the name of human rights? Or the one that included it in the name of political and religious diversity?"
In the end, they voted 'no.' "Also, a man compared the meeting to an enema."
While some were disappointed the Coop didn't "go the democratic route" and put the question of the boycott to the 16,000 members of the Coop, others are happy that this is all behind them now and they can go back to selecting delicious cheeses from the array of options and sharing recipes for Quinoa Burgers. After a brush with fame that involved an appearance on The Daily Show, Barbara Mazor, a leader of the anti-boycott group, told The New York Post's Rich Calder last night, “I am so happy that my life can go back to normal tomorrow morning."
For now. According to Calder, "The pro-boycott group can bring the issue up again, and [boycott leader Irina] Ivanova said her side is weighing its options." The Coop will always be the Coop.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.