Monday, May 9, 2011

Hear, o Israel! Food Co-op boycott moves a tiny step forward

By Gary Buiso, The Brooklyn Paper, May 4, 2011

Let them eat hummus!

A wildly controversial ban on Israeli-made or -grown products over alleged human rights violations in the homeland first proposed two years ago will get an airing at the Park Slope Food Co-op, a plotz-worthy development for pro-Israel members who say the boycott amounts to nothing short of anti-Semitic venom.

Members who collectively call themselves More Hummus Please — a reference to the whipped chickpea spread imported from the Land of Milk and Honey — are trying to convince ban backers to bury the boycott once and for all, before the controversial proposal ever comes to a vote.

“Most people, unfortunately, join things without thinking,” said Harvey Lang, a member of the private Union Street market since 1988. “I’m really afraid that people will join a movement that is evil.”

The boycott was first broached in the 16,000-member market’s newsletter, the Linewaiter’s Gazette, in 2009, setting off an international firestorm of media coverage.

“I don’t know whether or not we carry Israeli products,” said the woman, who identified herself as Hima, “but I propose that we no longer carry them.”

But the wheels of social justice turn very slowly at the Co-op, where proposals don’t become Co-op law until exhaustive debate. And in the case of Hima’s “proposal,” that debate didn’t happen. Until now.