Park Slope Food Co-op to vote tomorrow on issue of boycotting food from Israel

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CHRIS HONDROS/GETTY IMAGES

Despite mounting criticism  — even coming from Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself — the Park Slope Food Co-op is still planning to hold a controversial vote tomorrow regarding a proposal to stop selling food items imported from Israel.

Tomorrow’s vote is actually to decide whether co-op members will hold a later referendum on the proposed boycott.

The boycott was proposed by supporters of Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, a movement that supports a global
boycott of Israeli products in solidarity with Palestinians.

At the food co-op, items that would be affected under the ban include paprika, a
make-your-own seltzer machine, vegan marshmallows, olive pesto and
produce.

The vote will be held at 7 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School, which can seat 3,000 people in its auditorium. Turnout at tomorrow’s meeting is expected to be so large that the co-op had to move to a bigger location from the synagogue where its meetings are traditionally held.

If there is enough support tomorrow, a referendum will be mailed out to the co-op’s 16,000 members.

Bloomberg yesterday blasted the co-op’s decision to hold the vote.

“These are businesses that should be run as businesses,” Bloomberg said, speaking at the St. Patrick’s Parade in Bay Ride, according to the New York Post. “I certainly am adamantly opposed to boycotting Israeli products … Israel is a very important ally of America. We shouldn’t forget that.”

And Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, usually one of the most liberal voices in the city, also came out strongly yesterday against the vote, calling it “inflammatory.”

“Plain and simple — it’s wrong,” said de Blasio, who said he was urging his fellow Brooklynites to reject tomorrow’s vote. ““Our city, in particular, has always had a special relationship with
Israel. Those of us who have visited Israel, as my family and I did
very recently, feel the moral bond and the need for her doing everything
possible to protect her security.”

“This
movement—nationally and internationally—is a destructive force that must
be stopped.  It undermines America’s relationship with our steadfast
partner in the fight against terrorism and our strongest ally in the
Middle East,” he continued.

Liz Roberts, a supporter of banning the Israeli products, said people handing out leaflets have been cursed at, spit at and threatened, and that one was even hit last week.

She and Barbara Mazor of More Hummus Please, a group that opposes the ban, both said they expect more than 1,000 people to attend the meeting.


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