On Monday, The Blaze reported that New York City's Park Slope Food Co-Op was considering a referendum that could have led to a ban on goods from Israel such as hummus, paprika, and olive spread. The contention, of course, was over some members' feelings that goods from Israel should be removed from shelves in protest over the nation's "occupation" of Palestinian lands. On Tuesday, though, the majority of attendees voted down setting an official vote on a boycott.
Members of the grocery store voted 1,005 to 653 against putting an official vote on the schedule, as the majority maintained that banning Israeli products would unfairly target the Middle Eastern nation. The contentious vote -- which had the largest attendance of any co-op meeting to date -- was held at Brooklyn Technical High School, where Jewish media and anxious members coalesced to discuss the issues at hand.
WPIX-TV has more:
People on both sides of the debate made their voices heard regarding what should be done. The divide, of course, was stark. From those who believe wholeheartedly that Israel is wrong in its standing in Middle Eastern politics to those who saw a proposed ban as discriminatory, opinions ran across a wide spectrum.
"If you don’t like something don’t buy it — but keep politics out of the Co-op," said Levi Capland, a member of the Park Slope Food Co-Op.
"I feel I have a moral responsibility to vote for [the ban] because of a trip I took to Palestine," countered attendee Dennis James.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also weighed in on the potential ban, saying that the proposal has "nothing to do with the food."
"The issue is there are people who want Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred, and America is not going to let that happen," Bloomberg said.
Apparently, this isn't the first time that such a boycott has been proposed. BrooklynPaper.com has more:
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.
In an effort to make light of a contentious situation, The Daily Show's Samantha Bee tackled the situation, which was aired on Tuesday night. Here's the clip:
As The Blaze originally reported, the attempted boycott was part of an international advocacy effort called the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement,“ or ”BDS,” which is modeled after the international boycott against South African apartheid.
The co-op was founded in 1973 and its members have a reputation for being socially-conscious. Each individual who calls him or herself a member must conduct a work shift of two hours and 45 minutes every four weeks in order to shop at the co-op, reports JTA.