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Archive for July, 2010

Rally for Dialogue

WE LOVE THE CO-OP . WE ARE THE CO-OP .

Eastside Co-op, Friday, July 30 at 5 p.m.

The Co-op’s Board of Directors’ recent decision to boycott Israeli products has resulted in dividing our community. Why? The process didn’t include all of us, the process resulted in losing our sense of community, the process didn’t bring us closer together, the process didn’t remind us of who we are. The boycott addresses a limited view of a complex issue. We’re calling on the Co-op Board to rescind the boycott. We’re calling for community dialogue.

DETAILS: Unless you are disabled or have difficulty walking please don’t park your car in the Co-op parking lot or along Landsdale Road. If you can, please walk, bike or take the bus. The bus schedule can be found here:

http://www.intercitytransit.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Route%2066.pdf

If you must drive, please carpool, and park where appropriate, but in a way that doesn’t block traffic or impact the Co-op or its neighbors. We encourage signs, but please help us maintain a positive message. This is about advocating for dialogue, NOT attacking the Co-op. Sign ideas: “WE CAN TALK” / “WE CAN LISTEN” / “WE CAN COME TOGETHER” / “NO ONE ASKED ME” / “I LOVE THE CO-OP” / “WE CAN DO BETTER.” If you have questions, please email us at: its.our.coop@gmail.com

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These posts on the boycott are to inform our community and members.

Regards,

Anneke

Dear Evergreen,

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is deeply troubled by the Olympia Food Co-op’s decision to boycott Israeli products. Additionally, we are disappointed that the co-op’s board chose to make this decision without a thoughtful and inclusive discussion with its members.

We have been in regular contact with key leaders in the Olympia Jewish community, including Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Temple Beth Hatfiloh, since this crisis became known to us on Tuesday. The Olympia Jewish community has begun to formulate its strategy for responding to this boycott. We will be working closely with Rabbi Goldstein to ensure that he has the support necessary to successfully address this boycott in his local community. Co-op members, Jews from Olympia and other concerned Olympia residents have chosen to picket the store. A petition is being circulated to urge the board to reconsider their position. Still others are preparing to express their concerns at a co-op members’ meeting on August 11. In Rabbi Goldstein’s “Weekly Words” letter to Temple Beth Hatfiloh members, he asks people concerned about the boycott to share their thoughts with him directly at rabbi@bethhatfiloh.org. If you have questions, ideas, or are willing to lend a helping hand, please communicate directly with Rabbi Goldstein.

Of course, what has happened in Olympia is only a small part of a growing number of BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) initiatives. Not too long ago, the Seattle community faced a proposed boycott by Madison Market. Local co-op members and community members successfully defeated that proposal. Just a couple of days ago, the Port Townsend Co-op announced that it too would be considering a boycott of Israeli products. In the coming weeks we will be calling our community together for the purpose of developing a strategy to combat local boycotts which is strategic, effective, and addresses the uniqueness of each community.

Boycotts against Israel, such as this one, fail in their aim to help Palestinians by damaging Israel’s economy. Approximately 20% of Israel’s labor force is made up of Israeli Arabs as well as Palestinians living in the West Bank; they and their families suffer as a result of BDS initiatives. We believe that businesses that care genuinely about a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should support both Israelis and Palestinians—for example, by carrying Israeli products and donating a portion of the proceeds to organizations that promote peaceful relations between the two peoples. We believe that change is achieved not by divisive boycotts and divestments, but rather by education and peaceful dialogue.

We are concerned about the message that this boycott may send to other businesses. We ask you to do your part to help stop the spread of boycotts and divestments throughout our community. Here are some ways that you can help:

• Shop specifically at stores that stock Israeli products
• Go out of your way to thank the management, in person or in writing, for carrying Israeli products
• Ask friends and family members to purchase Israeli products in their communities, and to be sure to thank the management for carrying these product
• Purchase products from www.IsraeliProducts.com, which donates 100% of its net profits to Israeli charities
• Visit www.investinisrael.gov.il to invest in an Israeli business

Thank you for doing all you can to support Israel and its people.

Sincerely,

Richard Fruchter
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle