More information from Olympia BDS: Rabbi Lynn & The Olympia Food Co-op boycott. Olympia, Washington
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is planning to visit Olympia, and is scheduled to appear at First Christian Church on Sunday the 8th of August, 7pm. Stay tuned for more information.
[update, 29 July '10: I saw the flyer in the stairwell of The Martin apartment building, in the early evening hours of Saturday 24 July. original photo of the flyer posted in comments below]
I was recently disturbed when I saw an anti-BDS (boycott divestment sanctions) flyer in an apartment building in downtown Olympia.
The statements and accusations on this flyer were very hurtful to me, and I am not even Palestinian or Arab. But I am someone who supports BDS. The flyer was produced by Stand With Us, an organization with a questionable reputation.
For example, members and associates of Stand With Us have been observed engaging in hateful behavior. See this video on Jewish Voice for Peace blog, Muzzlewatch, here.
This flyer was disturbing to me in a number of ways, for a number of reasons. Among those reasons: it called BDS "biased, dishonest and self-defeating." Then listed a bunch of statements, for example to paraphrase some of the highlights:
Desmond Tutu has released a statement supporting the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli goods. It was published in Ha'aretz here. Also, Roger Water's from Pink Floyd has signed on as a support of the boycott. He did a version of We Shall Overcome about the situation in Palestine.
...and don't forget the Palestinians (which are invisible in many local conversations about this). All the major Palestinian Agricultural Unions have endorsed the boycott (here). That means something to folks who work for food and environmental issues here in Olympia."Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." Archbishop Desmond Tutu
There is a lot of support for divestment, and in that environment I think it is critical for people to keep in mind the bigger picture, which is of a long and calculated strategy of geo-political dominance led by keepers of political power.
Yesterday I went to Seattle to support a couple of friends who are in the midst of a dispute with a land-lord. A group of about 35 people from the Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle Solidarity Networks were on hand to witness the delivery of a reparations demands letter. Here's the Seattle Solidarity Network website (I think the Olympia group has a website on the way.)
After returning in heavy traffic on I-5 we stopped at the Eastside Co-op, and I saw the protest. You can find more information about the Co-op Board of Directors decision to boycott products from Israel at www.olympiafood.coop, and www.olympiabds.org. (I'm not aware of any local anti-bds websites.)
Then I jumped on the bus.
The bus driver asked me, "how are you," and I replied, "I'm well, thank you." (Although that was really not true, because I was really not well, pretty uncomfortable actually, although I was feeling happy about the BDS. I was saddened and distressed after seeing the protest against the co-op. And I was also late to the peace vigil. The reason that I said I was "well" was because I don't like to be judged by people for being sad, and I got the feeling that this bus driver was going to be disappointed if I told the truth. But this world makes me feel sad, and discouraged, and invalidated, etc., all the time. So There!)
Then I asked the driver, "and how are you?"
The driver said, "great!" (I wonder if the driver was lying too. Because maybe the driver was really bored. Too bad! We could have laughed about that.)
Here is a brief news round up of the media's take on Olmypia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli goods.
KPFA Soujorner Truth Show here
Seattle Times here
An announcement on Democracy Now here
Ha'aretz, an Israeli nespaper, here
On the front page of the Olympian here
UPDATED JULY 23 with more news:
Alternative Information Center in Israel/Palestine here
Olympia KOMO News here
Olympia Covers Support Rally here
There are lots and lots of anti co-op posts on crazy right wing blogs and news sources that I will not repost.
Also, there have been a ton of horribly, hateful phone calls to the Co-op staff. They did not make the decision and it is harrassment. These are NOT supporters of the boycott who are doing this.
Those that support the boycott are directed to contact the board or sign the petition. Visit www.olympiabds.org on directions how to do so. The flood of calls do not represent the sentements of our community.
Other news on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions:
There was good attendance at yesterday's peace vigil, as people came out to mark the 43rd anniversary of the Nakba, when Israel launched its war of occupation against Palestinians in 1967. The MV Rachel Corrie, a ship attempting to carry 1,200 tons of cargo to the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, was arrested by the Israeli military early this Saturday morning. For more information about the MV Rachel Corrie's mission, please visit The Free Gaza Movement.
Here are some photos from yesterday's vigil:
Introducing the MV Rachel Corrie (www.freegaza.org)
“Introducing the MV Rachel Corrie”
Written by Free Gaza Team | 20 April 2010
Posted in News
(Dundalk, Ireland, April 20, 2010) The 1200-ton cargo ship had been abandoned in July 2009, off the coast of Ireland. She was then impounded after an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF) discovered her owners had exploited their Lithuanian crewmembers - not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment, and they had been left with just one day of food. The 42-year-old MV Linda languished for nine months, waiting in the port of Dundalk for just the right buyer to rescue her. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/
On March 31, 2010, the Free Gaza Movement bought her at auction for €70,000 and will send her to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza loaded with cement, paper, and medical equipment, all banned by Israel from this battered and bruised slice of the Mediterranean.
This video is an example of the dilemma many of us face. Although our representatives in government are far from perfect, they may be doing all that they can to make progress against a well entrenched status quo. It has been easy for me to criticize this man in the past, but I wonder if the person who replaces him will be any more effective, or represent my feelings about these issues any better than he does.
For those who may not know, the Goldstone Report (AKA United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict) is an investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity that might have been committed in Gaza during an escalation in hostilities, which began in late December of last year and continued into January. The report has been subjected to irrational attacks by many people, including some in the US Congress. Washington State 3rd District Congressman Brian Baird has gone on record as a clear defender of the Goldstone Report. Congressman Baird visited Gaza earlier this year (in February). While there, the Congressman witnessed the aftermath of the destruction. He saw the situation on the ground, and heard people's testimonies.
Here's a statement from Baird's website about the Goldstone report:
Israel and Gaza Deserve Better than a Misguided Resolution
Before House Members vote on H.Res. 867, regarding the U.N. Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict, there are a few questions worth asking.
First, why are we bringing this resolution to the floor without ever giving former South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone a hearing to explain his findings? Have those who will vote on H.Res. 867 actually read the resolution? Have they read the Goldstone report? Are they aware that Justice Goldstone has issued a paragraph by paragraph response, available on my Web site at www.baird.house.gov, to H.Res. 867 pointing out that many of its assertions are factually inaccurate or deeply misleading?