Food co-op rejects call to boycott Israel

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — A food co-op in Washington State will not boycott Israeli goods.

The board of the Food Co-op in Port Townsend voted 4 to 2 Tuesday night against a boycott of Israeli goods, which had been urged in July by local supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The board declared that it should not get involved in international politics, according to the local Peninsula Daily News.

If the boycott had passed, the co-op would have been the second commercial establishment in the United States to remove Israeli products from its shelves, said a spokesperson for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs. A food co-op in nearby Olympia, Wash., voted to boycott Israeli goods two months ago.

The Port Townsend vote followed two months of acrimonious debate, with speakers and forums hosted by opponents and proponents of the boycott.

At a forum last week, representatives of StandWithUs, J Street and the New Israel Fund urged more than 200 local residents to invest in the peace process rather than adopt punitive measures against one side. Gideon Lustig, Israel’s deputy consul to the Pacific Northwest, delivered an address Sunday in Port Townsend.

Some boycott opponents said if Israel is the target of a boycott, China should be, too. Earlier this week, co-op member Rima Phillips, who opposed the Israel boycott, called for a boycott on Chinese products and plastic bags, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

The co-op carries about 10 Israeli products, including bath salt from the Dead Sea.

 

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