olympia food co-op

Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Products from Israel

This is for stories, articles, blogs, and other posts related to the Thursday 15 July 2010 decision by the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors to boycott products from Israel due to aggression against Palestinians by the state of Israel.

Co-op Member Forum Regarding Board Decision to Boycott Products from Israel

Jeff Reads the BoardIn this photo, Jeff reads a board that was filled up with comments after the Food Co-op Boycott Forum last night.
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The house was packed when the forum started. As people filtered in members of nations of First Peoples were drumming, and the event was formally initiated with a First Peoples drumming and prayer ceremony. The prayer was for health, reconciliation, communication and dialogue, and peace, and was given by Robert Satiacum.

People gradually filtered out of the event as the night went on. Some people walked out of the hall right after speaking, without waiting to listen to the remaining speakers. I don't know how many people spoke, but it might have been close to one hundred. Toward the end, the amount of time allotted to the individual speakers was reduced—from one and a half minutes to one minute—in order to help make sure that the maximum number of people who wanted to speak were able to.

Rolf Boone has a descriptive article about the event, here.

Jewish Voice for Peace Statement Regarding Olympia Food Co-op Boycott

Jewish Voice for Peace Statement Regarding the Olympia Food Co-Op Boycott of Israeli Goods

Rabbi Lynn's Presentation

Rabbi Lynn GottliebMonday 9 August 2010
Olympia—Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is currently on a visit to Olympia, and last night made a presentation in support of the Olympia Food Co-op decision to boycott Israeli goods.

The hall at First Christian Church was packed to hear Rabbi Lynn explain her support for the work of Olympia BDS and the co-op.

The Rabbi spoke of her experience being ordained as the first female Rabbi in the Jewish Renewal Movement, and of travel to Israel/Palestine. She presented slides showing the situation, and focused mostly on the West Bank.

Given the work of the Rachel Corrie Foundation to educate the community about the situation in Gaza, I appreciated the focus on the West Bank. The presentation served to flesh-out what people mean when they use words like "occupation" and "apartheid."

Peace Vigil Report-back and Thoughts about the Boycott

Let's Stop Killing People!
Friday 6 August 2010
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Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation weekly Peace Vigil at Percival Landing

This photograph doesn't really capture the spirit of the vigil, because it was a very festive affair today. Dancing and singing in the street to the music of the Artesian Rumble Arkestra—the music was a lot of fun!

The Friday evening vigil has been ongoing since November 1998. It happens every week.

It's a great opportunity to express your desire for a peaceful, just, and nonviolent world. Whether you're angry, sad, frustrated, in despair, confused, confident, hopeful, joyous, just plain happy, or any mixture of the above—or other (minus homicidal!)—you are welcome at the vigil. So please don't hesitate to stop by. Signs are provided or please feel welcome to bring your own!

p.s. We who vigil for peace love it when people wave and say hello and give us the peace sign (and sometimes I even like it when people object!), but what we would really like would be for passer by to stop and join us. Consider it. Consider joining us sometime. Line the streets. For peace.

Now my thoughts turn to the situation with the co-op.

Olympia BDS Why Boycott, Why Divest

Olympia BDS: Why Boycott, Why Divest...
Wednesday 4 August 2010
Olympia BDS presentation at Traditions about their work advocating for the Olympia Food Co-op to boycott products from Israel. It was a full house at Traditions last night. The above photo is from about 9:30, near the end of the night, after when people began to trickle out around 9 or so. I estimate that there were 80 or more people in attendance. Members of the organizing group presented for about an hour and a half or so, and then the floor was opened up for Q & A.
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Why Boycott, Why Divest
In this photo, Muhammad Ayub asks a question of the Olympia BDS movement organizers.

For more information, please see: www.olympiabds.org/

Protest Reportback

Protest on Pacific Friday 30 July 2010
I went to the protest at the co-op. I was really impressed by the community. It was obvious to me how much people, on both sides of the boycott issue, care about each other, and care about the co-op.

There were some great conversations. And while tensions certainly run high, I am hopeful that differences amongst the co-op community can be reconciled and that a mutually beneficial solution can be found.

I witnessed people listening to each other, really listening to each other. And I think a lot of people gained some ground in understanding each other—which is amazing, because it was a protest.

People who are opposed to the boycott decision expressed some concerns that make a lot of sense to me. For example, the fact that the statement indicates a need to return "all occupied Arab lands." That's a very vague statement. And it could be interpreted as the destruction of the state of Israel.

Fortunately, that is not what is intended. Given the persecution that Jews have faced (and continue to face,) I, personally, support the right of Israel to exist. And I think most people who support the boycott are not trying to deny the fact that there is Anti-Jewish oppression in the world. And I also think that most people who are working in solidarity with Palestinians do not deny the right of Israel to exist.

So, perhaps the statement could be amended to acknowledge the right of the state of Israel to exist. I think there is a middle ground that everyone can agree to.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on Support for Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Israeli Product

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.

Stand With Us Flyer Seen in Downtown Olympia

[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:

What do Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Roger Waters have in common? They love the Olympia Food Co-op!

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
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