This is a guest post by Kubbeh.
An American food co-operative has admitted that it has received anti-Semitic comments ‘in support’ of the boycott of Israeli products that it announced last month. The Olympia Food Co-op’s blog carried the following message: “Unfortunately anti-Semitic statements have abounded in a lot of the ‘support’ that the co-op has received in regard to the Israeli-products’ boycott.” (The co-op did not divulge the specifics of the messages that it had received.)
Whilst it is encouraging to see the co-op take a stand against anti-Jewish bigotry, it is nonetheless disappointing that the organisation remains intent on banning the produce of Israeli farmers from its shelves – thus using the actions of Israel’s government as an excuse to discriminate against ordinary citizens. Whilst congratulated the co-op for taking a stand against anti-Semitism,Ha’aretz columnist Bradley Burston also condemning the boycott movement:
“I remain opposed to boycotts, Olympia’s included, first because I oppose collective punishment of all kinds, whether practiced by Israel against Gazans, or by progressives against Israelis as a whole. I also believe that boycotts against Israel tend to be self-defeating and play into the hands of the right.“
The Olympia Food Co-operative’s boycott only extends to two stores in Washington State, however, it received widespread press coverage owing to the fact that Olympia is the hometown of pro-Palestinian activist, Rachel Corrie, who died in Gaza. The co-op’s boycott has nothing more than symbolic value – and any impact on the Israeli economy will be negligible. Once again, empty gesture politics win over genuine efforts to support the struggle for peace in the Middle East.