Israeli Product Boycott a Step Forward for Food Justice
As a Jew, a Quaker, a longtime activist for peace and social justice and a proud member of Weavers Way since 1978, I strongly urge Weavers Way to join with others around the world in a consumer boycott to nonviolently pressure the State of Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people.
There are times when upsetting the status quo is a good thing, and this is one of those times. Weavers Way is a community co-op that stands for human rights, a living wage, justice and positive global interdependence. Recent actions by the U.S.-Israel alliance have brutally trampled on any notion of justice.
Did you know that Israeli policy is to just barely keep Palestinians in Gaza alive, using gradual starvation tactics? The current U.S. plan to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East will drag down 2 million Gazans from an economy of scarcity into a politics of hunger. Now the Trump administration is closing the PLO’s mission in Washington, D.C., to force the Palestinian people to yield to American and Israeli pressure.
Politics is negotiable; food must not be. Other humanitarian programs for Palestinians through UNRWA and USAID are also being cut, including tbose providing schools, hospitals and health care, vaccinations, water treatment, jobs and infrastructure development.
Worldwide political efforts to make anti-Israel boycotts illegal are evidence of the growing strength of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement. We, as a co-op that values diversity, inclusiveness and respect, need to get on board.
At a minimum, Weavers Way should study the list of food products identified by the Boycott National Committee (bdsmovement.net/get-involved/what-to-boycott), supported by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Adalah-NY, Jewish Voice for Peace and other boycott organizations, and develop a list of products made in Israel and products from the occupied territories. This would help members make an informed choice about their purchasing.
Of course, there are different opinions in our community. We can learn from the experience of the Olympia, WA, Food Co-op, which voted to participate as an organization in the anti-Israel boycott in spite of member disagreements. If we work at it, I’m sure we can educate ourselves while also demonstrating genuine respect for the different opinions of our members.
As a first step, let’s start moving in the direction of walking the walk and challenging the cruel policies of our own government.
For more information and to support this effort, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Marlena Yassky Santoyo