With that “vote for a vote” on BDS taking place at the Park Slope Food Coop tonight, I thought I’d do a little news Googling to see how this particular circus is unfolding.
Given that this boycott story is happening in New York, it should come as no surprise that NY pols up to and including the Mayor are falling all over each other to condemn the Coop for its involvement with anti-Israel BDS activity. Several media outlets have lined up in opposition to the vote, including some who have used the occasion to sneer and rain scorn on an organization several of them have clearly never liked. And, unsurprisingly, conservative politicians are having a field day claiming no surprise that a progressive institution like the Park Slope Coop would choose to play footsie with those advocating for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish state.
The trouble is, the Coop didn’t decide to go down any such route, but instead had a boycott vote (or vote for vote) stuffed down their throat by single-issue partisans within their ranks who clearly feel the organization is nothing more than a plaything for their own political pet peeves.
Now I have no doubt that Park Slope (like any civic organization) has its strengths, deficiencies and quirks. And if I lived in the neighborhood, it would take some time to determine if the advantages in terms of quality food at low prices balanced out time commitments as well as everything else that accompanies joining a cooperative enterprise.
But who they are (and whatever strengths, deficiencies and quirks they possess) is their own business. And it seems damned unfair that a group of people who came together to engage in a cooperative experience have had to endure ridicule and sanction, just because a small percentage of them refused to consider the needs of anyone but themselves.
Because BDS tends to only target progressive groups and organizations, and because I tend to work with people inside those organizations who are battling against BDS, most of the people I have worked with are progressive-minded folks who have never had to choose a side in the Middle East conflict. Which is why seeing commentary that explains the boycott vote as nothing more than an expression of liberalism’s true face strikes me as both hyperbolic and incorrect. After all, these very progressive organizations – be they colleges, churches or food coops – are the very people who have been rejecting BDS for over a decade.
But having to endure nasty-grams from people who don’t know better is just one more gift the BDSers have bestowed upon the people of Park Slope (i.e., their neighbors). Apparently, it’s a price the boycotters are more than willing to pay to get what they want. Especially since they’re not the ones who have to pay it.