People on the west coast are known for mixing politics with food choices. The beliefs of those who make the food tend to matter more than the quality of the food. They want it organic, local, liberal, and now some apparently want their food anti-Semitic.
Last month the Olympia Food Co-Op of Olympia, Washington decided to boycott all foods made in Israel. Why would a grocery co-op and their two grocery stores rid their stores of Jewish made products? They want Israel to agree to three demands according to their press release:
“1. Israel end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the Wall;
2. Israel recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
3. Israel respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
You heard that right, a Washington state grocery company is making demands to the nation of Israel. The ban was put into effect when the co-op’s board voted 9-0 in support of the boycott. They did not allow their 15,000-20,000 members to have a say in the decision, and board members made brash assumptions about the reaction they would get.
There was very little feedback from the staff that was against the boycott, but it seemed as minority opinion. We have two members on the board from the Jewish community who were supportive of the boycott – it’s pretty progressive town. I know that’s not universal at the Jewish community.” – Rob Richards, Board Member
Almost one month after the board’s vote, the co-op finally allowed for both sides on the boycott to make their feelings known but nothing is being done in response to those against the boycott, including local Jewish organizations. Some very angry and hurt members of the co-op are trying to get members to sign a document overturning the anti-Israel decision. The board continues to see nothing wrong with their decision and is hoping other co-ops and grocery chains will follow.
“I am trying to be realistic – the Olympia Food Co-Op boycott is not going to change the Israeli policy, but I believe that these small drops will eventually have an effect. I would like to see more co-ops joining the boycott and more voices involved.” – Richards
This decision isn’t the first anti-Israeli action taken in the Olympia, Washington area. In June of this year, nearby Evergreen State College students voted for resolutions asking the college to end all financial links with Israeli organizations. The area is also represented by the outspoken critic of Israel, Democrat Congressman Brian Baird.
This story has been missed my most of the mainstream media. Hopefully the word will get out to Jewish communities in America. When some on the Left get bold, many of them are looking to bring down Israel. The more liberal an area, the more they are willing to admit their bias against the Jewish nation. Supporters of Israel both Jew and Gentile alike need to speak up against growing movements like this one. And supporters of Israel need to remember such boycotts come November.
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.