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.

======================================================

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

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