The Boycott Israel debate is once more dividing members of a food cooperative in Brooklyn — and this time the anti-BDS side instituted new rules to make it more difficult to boycott anyone.
At a recent general meeting of the Park Slope Food Coop, members voted 294 to 192 to require a 75% super majority, instead of 50%-plus-one, to boycott anyone.
The pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement was specifically targeting the popular home carbonation device called SodaStream, which is made by an Israeli company.
The pro-BDS camp, which wants Israeli isolated because of the continued occupation of the West Bank, was outraged.
“How can the Coop, a progressive institution, support food justice for Palestinians in a system that oppresses them?” wrote Naomi Brussel in the Linewaiters Gazette, the official newsletter of the coop.
The move to make a boycott more difficult is designed, the other side said, to stop what has been years of infighting.
“It is clear that proposals to boycott one or another entity or group can be extremely contentious and divisive. The proposal to raise the percentage necessary to 75% will help insure that there is more support and unanimity to any such proposal,” wrote Saul D. Raw.
A local synagogue, Congregation Beth Elohim, had already barred the coop from meeting there because of the BDS drive, The Indypendent reports.
Space is now rented out at local high schools and the January meeting was held in a Catholic school auditorium.
“We are committed to diversity and equality,” the coop says in its mission statement. “We oppose discrimination in any form. We strive to make the Coop welcoming and accessible to all and to respect the opinions, needs and concerns of every member.”