We were gratified that the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement failed in its bid to bring the Park Slope Food Co-op, located in Park Slope, Brooklyn into its ranks. Last week, co-op members voted overwhelmingly against a motion calling for a referendum on whether to join BDS and refuse to carry Israeli goods.
BDS seeks to organize boycotts against Israel as a means to force changes in Israeli policy regarding the West bank and Gaza. The Park Slope Co-op is a 39-year-old market known for its organic produce and its left of center membership. The vote on the referendum motion was 1,005 against and 653 in favor.
The co-op would seem to be fertile ground for BDS importuning, so the defeat of the proposed boycott defeat could be significant. However, The New York Times reported that Liz Roberts, a member of the pro-boycott group, vowed to go forward: “[D]espite our loss in tonight’s vote, we have succeeded in one of our goals: BDS has entered into the consciousness of thousands of co-op members and has even made it into mainstream conversations.” And therein lies the rub.
Several of New York City’s leading politicians, including those connected to the Park Slope area, went public with their opposition to the boycott. But most waited until the eve of the vote to do so. Had an analogous plan been floated directed at other groups, we suspect that expressions of dismay and rebuke would have been faster in coming and more robust. This is especially important now that it appears BDS efforts in New York City neighborhoods are a work in progress.