Sep 17, 2010

#BDS: No matzo, no peace

Matzo and bath salts are stirring up controversy over at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, where a fraction of its 12,000 owner-members is moving to boycott products that come from Israel.
The boycott is being pushed by the Sacramento Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions Working Group. The group says the boycott would end when Israel stops its Gaza blockade, exits the West Bank, grants Arab Israelis the same rights as Jewish Israelis and lets Palestinian refugees return.
More than anything, the controversy is a war of symbols, as the half-dozen Israeli brands that would be affected constitute less than 1 percent of SNFC inventory.
“If we can stop carrying products tested on animals, surely we can stop carrying products that violate human rights,” activist and Co-op member Maggie Coulter said at a meeting of the Co-op board on September 7.
That meeting drew two dozen people to the Co-op on Alhambra Boulevard, where boycott backers accused Israel of creating a system of apartheid for Palestinians. They said rather than support the nation by buying its goods, the store should do its part in pressuring Israel to make concessions to Palestine.
Opponents questioned the legality of a boycott, which would alienate Jewish customers and set a double standard for other human-rights violators, including China and countries in Africa and the Mideast. Besides, they said, the board should stick to managing SNFC finances and leave the politicking to President Barack Obama.

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