Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli Products

Someone sent me the following, from the Olympia, WA Food Co-op.  They apparently are boycotting Israeli products.

I have copied the terms of their boycott just below, and then below that, my letter to them.

I urge you to write to them and make your opinion known, and for those of you in the Olympia area, please do more – let them know in person of your opinion.

Olympia Food Contact Info Protest Boycott:

board@olympiafood.coop

or call business office at 357-1106 ext 12

Olympia Food Co-Op Boycott

From the Olympia Food Co-Op website Conditions to End Boycott

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.

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It is important for all fair-minded people who support the state of Israel to call or write Olympia food Co-op to protest this unreasonable, one-sided, and anti-Israel boycott. Based on the terms of the Co-op Israeli products will not be sold until Palestinian refugees were allowed to return to their homes and properties which in essence destroy the country of Israel as a Jewish state. It is ironic that the above conditions are even more radical against Israel than terms demanded by the PA authority in their negotiations with Israel.  Below is the contact information to protest the boycott of Israeli goods.

Olympia Food Contact Info Protest Boycott board@olympiafood.coop or by calling business office at 357-1106 ext 12

My letter to them:

Dear Olympia Food Co-Op Board,

I received an email telling me about your boycott of Israeli products and companies.

I certainly hope that you are going to boycott ALL countries in which oppression occurs.  I suggest you start with all the Arab countries (so no oil, dates, or whatever they provide), Venezuela, Argentina, most of Africa, France (since they’ve now outlawed the Burqa, oppressing the poor Muslims), and the US, since we clearly oppress minorities.

I also suggest that you not use ANY products developed in Israel, so throw away your cell phones, computers, Instant Messenging technology, many medical procedures and equipment, drip irrigation, and a host of other things that come from Israel and benefit you every day as you go about your life.  It’s not right that you should benefit from anything that comes from Israel, since you obviously hate it.

Singling out Israel (only) is ridiculous.

Arab citizens of Israel DO enjoy equal rights under the law, and have several political parties with their own members in the Knesset (parliament).  The only “right” they do not share is that of serving in the military.

Yes, Israel occupies part of the West Bank and is working to get out of most of the West Bank.  It is not a simple process, especially given that there is no single leadership on the Palestinian side who can actually make commitments to peace without being killed.  The struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (and several other fundamentalist Islamic groups) is well documented and not hidden.  The PA leadership cannot even enter Gaza for fear of their lives, yet, you would have Israel negotiate with them assuming that they can actually make peace.

Israel DID give up Gaza (and the Sinai to Egypt), although the cost to them has been enormous in subsequent terror attacks from Gaza against Israel’s Southern residents (thousands of rockets hardly shows a desire for peace and harmony).

I suspect that your promotion of the “right” of Arab refugees to return to their homes is a noble one, but based on fantasy.  It simply cannot happen without the destruction of the state of Israel.

So, what you are saying is that you simply don’t want to buy products from Jews, since there is no way a Jewish state can fulfill your demands.  That, to me, is anti-Semitism.  Racism.  Discrimination.  All the things you apparently are opposed to, yet promulgate.

By the way, what is your reaction to the approximately 800,000 Jews who left (either voluntarily or forced out from) the Arab countries between 1947 and 1952?  Most were absorbed into Israel, most left their homes with nothing but the clothing on their backs, while their belongings were confiscated.

I also suppose you’re going to agitate for the return of THEIR property and belongings.  How about the Indians and Pakistanis who effectively (and quite literally) executed a massive population exchange when Pakistan was created?  Are you going to boycott both those countries until the Hindus and Muslims get their rights back?

How about the treatment of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, where they cannot work in a LONG list of professions, cannot obtain citizenship, cannot live outside the camps, and are severely restricted in travel?  Are you protesting their treatment, which is orders of magnitude worse than anything they endure by Israel?  Or do you only care about discrimination by Jews?

I am sure that your rationale is well intentioned, but it is also totally naïve and based on a thorough lack of education and knowledge of the history of the Middle East.

I urge you to acquire that knowledge – not going back 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, but going back much farther in history, learning about the demographics of “Palestine” over the centuries, learning exactly who are the “Palestinians”, what did they actually own (not much, in truth), etc.  You fuss over East Jerusalem, I’m sure, but until 1948, Jews were the MAJORITY in Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem.  When Jordan conquered Jerusalem in 1948, they drove the Jewish residents out and then restricted all access to the holy sites.

But, as knee-jerk liberals rallying to a cause, I’m sure none of that matters to you.

Obviously, my perspective is that you should end your boycott.  Certainly, if I lived in your area, I would be boycotting YOU.  Unfortunately, though, I don’t live nearby, so I have to make do with an email.

I hope it at least makes you think about the ramifications of what you’re doing, but I suspect that it won’t.

John Poris

Ground Zero Mosque

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t weigh in on the latest controversy?

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the controversy surrounding the possible building of a huge Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque close to Ground Zero, where about 3,000 people lost their lives in a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims.

There is a huge uproar over the insensitivity of the Islamic community, wanting to put a mosque so close to the site.

Some attribute dark motives, others attribute it to simple insensitivity, others claim that it’s simply a good location and building.

There is great speculation over how, exactly, this is all being paid for, with much public demand for clarity over the funding.

What is clear, is that an Islamic group, whose Imam probably has ties to terror groups, wants to make this a huge deal.

My personal view is that it’s at minimum in very poor taste, and extremely insensitive on the part of the Imam and his followers.  My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims, who must certainly view this as someone stomping on the graves of their loved ones.

My American, liberty-revering side says that we must grant the Muslims the permissions to build wherever they like and can afford to build, ensuring that they will be “good neighbors”, just like anyone else.

Our country was founded on the tenets of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the principles that we are all equal, at least in the eyes of the law, and it is wrong to discriminate against a religious group wanting a place to worship.

On the other hand (come on, you knew there was another hand, didn’t you?), this is not the usual conflict over having a house of worship built in someone’s neighborhood.

In truth, I am conflicted.

My Freedom loving side says “let them build it wherever they want.  It’s a free country, and people are free to exhibit poor taste and judgment.”.

My Cautious and Suspicious side says “don’t let them do it.  It’s just another beachhead in the invasion of our country and the push by Islamic fundamentalists to destroy our freedoms and way of life, and to tear down the very principles on which our country was founded.”

Honestly, I’m glad I don’t live in New York and that I don’t have to make the decision about this mosque.  I suspect that I would probably find a way to prevent it from being built if I were in charge, but I also suspect that I might not like myself very much for doing so.

So, what do YOU think?

A new “Pet Peeve”

I recently took a road trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (beautiful drive, by the way – Northern Michigan is stunning).

We spent about 4 hours driving up I-75 the first day, then drove around, all over Northern Michigan, then spent 4 hours driving home, mostly on I-75 again.

I can’t even begin to figure out how many times some driver would decide to just loll along in the left (fast) lane, going the same speed as the cars in the right lane, as a line of traffic built up behind him or her.

It was a bit scary to watch as drivers began taking extraordinary risks to get around these road hogs by squeezing too closely between cars, cutting the road hog off because they were pissed off, or in general driving much faster than they should just to get around them.

People – if you aren’t passing, leave the left (fast, passing) lane open.  If someone comes up behind you in the left lane, move over and let them go by.

By deliberately blocking them, or by being so obtuse and unaware that there are cars waiting to pass you, YOU are creating a danger.

“But wait”, you say, “I’m driving the speed limit or just above it”.

So what?  Some people are willing to take the risk of going faster and maybe being in an accident or getting a ticket.  That is not your concern or responsibility, it is the responsibility of the police.

If YOU act like a turtle, YOU may be causing an accident.

Just get out of the way!

Israel is a Normal, Western Democracy

This is reprinted from the Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2010.

I emphatically agree with it.

John

The following statement has been signed by Jose Maria Aznar, David Trimble, John R. Bolton, Alejandro Toledo, Marcello Pera, Andrew Roberts, Fiamma Nirenstein, George Weigel, Robert F. Agostinelli and Carlos Bustelo:

Israel is a Western democracy and a normal country. Nonetheless, Israel has faced abnormal circumstances since its inception. In fact, Israel is the only Western democracy whose existence has been questioned by force, and whose legitimacy is still being questioned independently of its actions.

The recent flotilla crisis in the Mediterranean provided yet another occasion for Israel’s detractors to renew their frenzied campaign. It was so even before the facts of that tragic incident had come to light. Eyes were blind to the reasons why Israel had to respond to the Gaza flotilla’s clear provocation.

Because we believe Israel is subjected to unfair treatment, and are convinced that defending Israel means defending the values that made and sustain our Western civilization, we have decided to launch the Friends of Israel Initiative. Our goal is to bring reason and decency back to the discussion about Israel. We are an eclectic group, coming from different countries and holding different opinions on a range of issues. It goes without saying that we do not speak for the State of Israel and we do not defend every course of action that it decides upon. We are united, however, by the following beliefs, principles and aims:

First, Israel is a normal, Western democracy and should be treated as such. Its parliamentary system, legal traditions, education and scientific research facilities, and cultural achievements are as fundamental to it as to any other Western society. Indeed, in some of these areas, Israel is a world leader.

Second, attempts to question Israel’s basic legitimacy as a Jewish state in the Middle East are unacceptable to people who support liberal democratic values. The State of Israel was founded in the wake of United Nations Resolution 181, passed in 1947. It also arose out of an unbroken Jewish connection to the land that stretches back thousands of years. Israel does not derive its legitimacy, as some claim, from sympathy over the Holocaust. Instead, it derives legitimacy from international law and from the same right to self-determination claimed by all nations.

Third, as a fully legitimate member of the international community, Israel’s basic right to self-defense should not be questioned. Nor should it be forgotten that Israel faces unique security threats—from terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and from an Iran seeking nuclear weapons.

United Nations condemnations of Israel arising from last year’s Goldstone Report on the recent war in Gaza, for example, ignore the security challenges that Israel faces. All democracies should oppose such campaigns, which ultimately undermine the legitimacy not merely of Israel but of the U.N. itself.

Fourth, we must never forget that Israel is on our side in the battle against Islamism and terror. Israel stands on the front line of that fight as a bulwark of Judeo-Christian values. The belief that the democratic world can sacrifice Israel in order to placate Islamism is profoundly wrong and dangerous. Appeasement failed in the 1930s and it will fail today.

Fifth, attempts by people of good faith to facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians are always to be supported. But outsiders should beware of attempting to impose their own solutions. Israelis and Palestinians should know how to build a viable peace on their own. We can help them, but we cannot force them.

Sixth, we must be alive to the dangers that the campaign against Israel poses in reawakening anti-Semitism. Hostility to the Jews has been a stain on the Western world’s honor for centuries. It is a matter of basic self-respect that we actively confront and oppose new manifestations of an old and ugly problem.

The Friends of Israel Initiative has come together to encourage men and women of goodwill to reconsider their attitudes toward the Jewish state, and to relocate those attitudes inside the best of Western traditions rather than the worst. We urge them to recognize that it is in our own best interests that an increasingly jaded relationship between Israel and many of the world’s other liberal democracies is rescued and reinvigorated before it is too late for us all.

Mr. Aznar is a former prime minister of Spain. Mr. Trimble is a former first minister of Northern Ireland. Mr. Bolton is a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Mr. Toledo is a former president of Peru. Mr. Pera is a former president of the Italian Senate. Mr. Roberts is a British historian. Ms. Nirenstein is vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Mr. Weigel is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Mr. Agostinelli is managing director of the Rhône Group. Mr. Bustelo is a former minister of industry in Spain.