Brooklyn food co-op rejects Israel boycott


NEW YORK (JTA) — A well-known cooperative grocery store in Brooklyn voted to reject a boycott of Israeli goods.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, members of the Park Slope Food Coop rejected by a vote of 1,005 to 653 a proposal to hold a mail ballot referendum for all members on whether to stop selling Israeli goods.

The meeting was held at an area high school to accommodate the expected crowd, which ended up exceeding in size any previous co-op meeting, The New York Times reported.

The co-op, founded in 1973, is well known in New York City as a bastion of socially conscious consumerism. Each member is required to do a work shift of 2 hours, 45 minutes every four weeks in order to shop at the coop, which offers an array of organic and other goods at significant discounts.

Supporters and opponents of a boycott had campaigned aggressively in the run-up to the vote at the co-op, which has a large number of Jewish members.

The call to boycott Israeli goods had been percolating for several years and was the subject of vigorous debate in the co-op’s newsletter.

The issue garnered substantial media attention. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other elected officials strongly criticized the boycott proposal.

“I think it has nothing to do with the food,” Bloomberg said Monday when asked about the boycott at a news conference. “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.”

The co-op’s general manager and one of its founders, Joe Holtz, urged members to reject the boycott call, calling it “divisive.”

The co-op reportedly sells only a handful of Israeli-made products.

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