Park Slope Food Co-Op Schedules Vote On Whether To Hold A Referendum On Banning Israeli Products


park-slope-food-coopThe three-year batle over whether Israeli products belong on the shelves of the Park Slope Food Coop is finally coming to a vote — sort of.

The 39-year-old organic-food haven has scheduled a vote for next month to decide whether to hold a referendum of its 16,000 members on banning Israeli-made products like hummus, paprika, and seltzer.

The coop has taken stands before – banning bottled water, Coca-Cola, and hummus from a Brooklyn company accused of mistreating its workers. But no issue has split members like the Israel boycott.

“Anything we’ve boycotted in the past, the sentiment for the boycott was at almost 100%,” said general coordinator Ann Herpel.

But she said while passions run high on both sides of the issue, most members are more interested in shopping for organic produce than delving into Middle East politics.

“There are two groups that are very interested in this, and there’s a lot of people that this has not been on their radar,” she said. “Most people just feel passionately about the coop, not passionately about this issue.”

The proposal is being pushed by a group dubbed Park Slope Food Coop Members for Israeli Boycott Divestment Sanctions.

“Economic engagement with the state of Israel gives it the means and muscle to oppress, destabilize, and colonize the Palestinian people,” Mohan Sikka wrote in one letter to the Linewaiters’ Gazette – one of dozens of impassioned missives from both sides that have filled the newsletter’s pages in recent months.

Opponents have countered with their own group, called More Hummus, Please.

“It’s wrong to try to use the coop’s reputation to speak for one particular cause. We’re a diverse group of people, and we’ve come there to save money on food, period,” said Barbara Mazor, 54, of Midwood. “This is not going to have any effect on anything. It just promotes hostility, because it only puts the blame for the problem on Israel.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is not a member of the coop, advised against a boycot. “A boycott of Israel, which protects women’s and human rights far more than any of its neighbors, is one-sided and unfair and I urge coop members to reject this misguided and counter-productive proposal,” the Democrat said.

At the store Tuesday, most members dismissed the idea of a boycott. “You will not change Israeli policy by boycotting its products. If it is approved, it will be damaging to the coop and a futile exercise,” said Alan Rosner, 68, of Park Slope.

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}


  1. This whole story is silly. Who cares if this store that nobody has ever heard of, refuses to sell chumus?! 1) We the people can boycott their store! 2) how many heimisha people live in Park Slope? 3) is this the only food store in the neighborhood? 4) I’m sure the Knesset is in emergency meetings aS we speak, to address this troubling development! Ah Freilichen Purim!!!

  2. First u have to ask yourself will this change things in the middleast? I am sure not, besides the fact it will ONLY change the income of the owner of food coop, most people outside of Park slope never even heard of the store or really have an option. Just think about the little man for once, not just the big picture.

  3. I would not belittle this article as these trends start in these small ways all politics are local and these type of boycotts need to be fought the ramifications through the publicity they get is far more damaging to Israels image.

  4. By the way, Jewish people do shop in that store and come from Boro Park to obtain their organic stuff. I know of such a person and I am sure there are many more.

  5. Is this a ban strictly on “Israely” made hummus? Will they still sell American Company’s like Tov Tam, Flamms, Trader Joe, etc…? They also refused bottled water, Coca Cola, seltzer. This store is run by a bunch of left wing liberal wacko’s! With such policies, they won’t be in business too long! They will alienate most of their costumer base! I can list you hundreds of goyisha stores right here in Brooklyn that don’t sell Israely products. This is a NON story! You just gave them what they were craving – attention!

  6. Many jewish familys shop there. IF you are the type to eat organic – then this is the store to shop in. They have all fruits , vegetable and even kosher chicken organic. However if this store continues with this silly boycott then I’m sure I can find another organic shop.

  7. #5
    They wonÂ’t be in business too long!? They are already in business for 39 years! They are a very well known and widely respected establishment. Their actions have wide reaching ripples, even in the Jewish community. Read the article and you may find answers to your question.

  8. we belong to the co op there. the prices are good. I can only say that alot of them say they want truth and peace and they eat vegan but they have so much hate in their hearts and they have education but they have ignorance because they really don’t understand the basic concepts of what the truth is in the middle east. they cannot integrate all the information.