Food Co-Op in Rachel Corrie’s Hometown Boycotts Israeli Goods

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A small but important step in the BDS campaign. The Co-op has had a boycott process/policy since 1993, they have used it to boycott Norwegian and Chinese goods in the past. Their statement on the Israeli boycott reads:

Boycott Announcement

The Board of Directors has decided that the Olympia Food Co-op will boycott Israeli made products and divest from any investments in Israeli companies. The Co-op would stop carrying the Israeli products it currently sells and would not stock new products from Israeli companies. If the Co-op has money invested in Israeli companies or bonds, we would terminate those investments. We would refrain from dealing with non-Israeli companies that sell products or services to Israel that are used to violate the human rights of the Palestinians.

Members requested that the Co-op honor the international call for boycott. The Board made the decision while following the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott Process (available at the Co-op website at www.olympiafood.coop/boycott). The Board consulted and used the Co-op Mission Statement and the By-Laws to guide in making this decision:

  • From the Mission Statement: Support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society
  • From the By-Laws: Adopt policies which promote achievement of the mission statement and goals of the Cooperative

Read the full statement here (pdf) – includes: Why boycott?, Why an Israeli products boycott?, Isn’t this “anti-Israel”?, What ends the boycott? & Why should the Co-op honor the boycott?

Please take a moment and email the Olympia Food Co-op’s board to congratulate them on their decision: board [at] olympiafood.coop – or on Facebook

Natasha Mozgovaya’s op-ed in Ha’aretz:

In some places the mainstream Jewish community has reacted vigorously against boycott attempts, but many Israel supporters are worried that the battle “might be already lost at the campuses.” – Read more at ISM…

Local paper, The Olympian, reports:

Olympia Food Co-op members will get another chance next month to discuss a controversial board decision to boycott Israeli products at its two stores.

Nine of the co-op board’s 10 members voted Thursday to participate in the international boycott. Harry Levine, a staff representative to the board, said he didn’t take a stand on the issue.

Not everyone on the co-op staff agrees with the decision, Levine said. He said that outside of his role as a board member, he supports it.

“My personal view is that boycotts can be effective tools in changing governments,” he said. “I personally support it, and I’m an American Jew.”

The board voted to boycott Israeli products as a way to “compel Israel to follow international law and respect Palestinian human rights,” according to a statement the board released. The boycott announcement has been posted on the co-op’s website, www.olympiafood.coop, as well as at its two stores.

Israeli products removed from the stores include gluten-free crackers, ice cream cones and a moisturizing cream, Levine said.

This is not the first time that the 33-year-old co-op has taken part in a boycott, he said. It has boycotted products from Norway and China in objection to whaling and human rights violations. – Read more…

Mentioned in the comments of The Olympian article is a US “Antiboycott Law” which:

.. discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott.

This ‘law’ appears to apply only to exports, but definitely only applies to Israel.



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