Resolution Achieved in Park Slope Co-Op

By: Michael Engle

Last night, members of the Park Slope Co-Op, in Brooklyn, voted NOT to vote on a boycott of Israeli products.  This means that for now, the month-long debate has been shelved.  In retrospect, it is fairly clear that the 61% who voted against further action also agreed with popular opinion outside of the co-op.

In a New York Times piece, reporter Ginia Bellafante quoted local composer Matt Lewkowicz, who claimed that "I have plenty of outlets for my political opinions. The co-op isn't one of them. I just want really good dried fruit."  This proposed boycott likely would have only harbored ill will, with a negligible effect on world trade and politics.  This is because the co-op only stocks about a half-dozen products from Israel; however, one such Israeli brand, Peaceworks, is dedicated to improving Middle East relations.  Even though Peaceworks openly uses Palestinian olives for its tapenades (which are in turn canned in Egyptian glass containers) while donating five percent of its profits to peace-promoting charities, the proposed anti-Israel boycott would have removed Peaceworks products from the store.

This irony was not lost on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wondered why and how a food co-op would dabble in international politics.  Now that this debate has been officially shelved, might we suggest that the co-op bury the hatchet over some hummus?

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers 

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