Home > Israel, Judy Lash Balint > Israel boycott rejected by co-op in Port Townsend, Washington

Israel boycott rejected by co-op in Port Townsend, Washington

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Judy Lash Balint

Judy Lash Balint

JERUSALEM–Last month when I was visiting Seattle, I had the opportunity to take part in a “hearing” of the Olympia Food Co-op whose board had voted to boycott Israeli products. The 15,000 Co-op membership had not been consulted and some of them were upset–not that they were pro-Israel, they were ticked off that the Board had not consulted the members before they launched the Co-op into progressive history by becoming the first co-op in the nation to boycott Israel.

More of that later. In another part of Washington state–the charming, quiet community of Port Townsend–another Israel boycott was brewing. This time however, saner voices prevailed and Jewish activists from all over the state, led by the Seattle StandWithUs group, together with a flurry of letters and op eds in the local paper, resulted in a “no” vote on the boycott last night.

The PTLeader reports:

The Port Townsend Food Co-op board Tuesday voted 4 to 2 to reject a proposed boycott of products made in Israel.

After listening to more than 50 co-op members speak passionately for and against the proposal, the board approved a motion stating that the proposal was inconsistent with the co-op’s boycott policy.

The board concluded that policy does not allow the co-op to take a stand on issues involving countries.

“We are not in the business, fundamentally, of adjudicating international issues,” said board member Rick Sepler.

“That is [just] not the business the co-op is in,” said board member Steve Moore, adding, “It is not why we were elected.”

StandWithUs NW director Rob Jacobs credits the “good people” in the local community and local opponents of the boycott who reacted strongly and quickly, and called for anyone in the Port Townsend area to come to the co-op and shop for Israeli products.

Their actions and the positive results should stand as an example to other communities facing the onslaught of anti-Israel tactics.

*
Balint is a freelance writer in Jerusalem, who posts regularly on her blog, Jerusalem Diaries: In Tense Times.

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