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GreenStar Food Coop Tag

Supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) scored a big win many years ago when they managed to pass a boycott of Israeli products at the Olympia Food Coop in Olympia, Washington. It was the first such successful coop boycott, and I believe either the only one or one of only a very small number. A similar move was attempted in Ithaca at the GreenStar Food Coop. The GreenStar council rejected the boycott as possibly in violation of New York's anti-discrimination law, Huge BDS loss – GreenStar Food Coop rejects Israel boycott. After the Olympia BDS policy was adopted, numerous members sued. That suit originally was thrown out of court, but in May 2015 the Washington State Supreme Court reversed. We reported at the time, a Big Win for Washington anti-BDS Activists:

Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace is sponsoring two events in Ithaca and Cortland, NY, honoring and celebrating Bassem Tamimi. The first event, in Ithaca, is at 5:30 p.m. today, September 17, 2015. The "host" of the event is Ithaca Committee for Justice in Palestine, run by the same people who run Ithaca JVP. They use various group names for various purposes to create the appearance they are a larger movement than they are. They recently also formed a group called Vegans Against The Occupation (seriously), using as their featured image in the left sidebar Ariel Gold, the leader of Ithaca JVP.  The anti-Israel movement in Ithaca is very interconnected, and run by a handful of activists. Why is Ithaca JVP celebrating and glorifying Bassem Tamimi? Tamimi, you may recall, has perfected the art of using children (including his own) to confront Israeli soldiers to create viral photos and video.  We set forth the evidence in great detail in two prior posts: Tamimi's daughter, Ahed was featured in a video in 2012 which has many millions of views, in which she screamed at Israeli soldiers and shook her fist at them, as other children gathered around trying to provoke a reaction. It all was a set up for the cameras, as the video below exposes.

The anti-Semitism deeply embedded in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been apparent for years, but particularly since the 2014 Gaza War. Rallies against Israel regularly devolved into Jew-baiting throughout Europe, and even in some places in the U.S., like Miami where they chanted, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.” At a Boston rally sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace in July 2014, Israel supporters were attacked by a woman who yelled that they would claim back Jerusalem for Christians and Muslims. It is no surprise that Walking While Jewish is dangerous in many cities in Europe. While there is an intellectual distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, in reality on the streets of Europe and some places in the U.S., they are one and the same.

This would be funny were it not for the fact that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is such a sad sack of haters. Activists from Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace were behind the recent failed effort to get GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca, NY (home of Cornell University) to boycott Israel. Those activists formed a group called Central NY Committee for Justice in Palestine, later reconfigured as Ithaca Food Justice for Palestine. But two JVP activists, Ariel Gold and Beth Harris -- who (in)famously got themselves arrested at the AIPAC annual conference -- were behind it all. Details on that GreenStar boycott effort, including the hateful messages used as part of the campaign (See Featured Image for one example), are in my post, Huge BDS loss – GreenStar Food Coop rejects Israel boycott. Attempts were made to take the GreenStar boycott movement national, involving such "stars" as Angela Davis and Medea Benjamin, but that didn't help them much: Greenstar Boycott Angela Davis Medea Benjamin One aspect of the failed boycott effort involved China. China?

Activists from Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace brought a referendum to the GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca calling for a boycott of Israeli products.  The effort was national, with big names such as Angela Davis (radical anti-Israel prof.) and Medea Benjamin (Code Pink) lending their support (see Featured Image). The effort was rejected tonight unanimously by the GreenStar Council based on the NY State Human Rights law prohibition of boycotts based on national origin. (Full decision at bottom of post.) Similar to the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, NY, the referenda caused enormous tension among the GreenStar membership and within the community. See our prior posts: The proposed referenda read:
1. Shall Greenstar be required to halt the sale of all Israeli products and produce grown or produced in the Occupied West Bank in Israeli settlements, settlements which are recognized as illegal under international law?

We have written several times before about the effort by Jewish Voice for Peace activists in Ithaca, NY, where Cornell is located, to advance a referendum at the GreenStar Food Coop to boycott Israeli products. The Greenstar Council is considering whether, under its bylaws, there are grounds to reject the referendum petition, or whether it is obligated to let the referendum go to a full membership vote in early November 2015. The GreenStar Council takes no position on the merits of the boycott, and seems aware that the referendum process itself, not to mention if it passes, will do serious damage to GreenStar itself. Yet the referendum is being pushed hard by the JVP activists, particularly Ariel Gold (who works as an organizer for the anti-Israel Friends of Sabeel - North America) and Beth Harris (a retired Ithaca College professor long active in the boycott movement). Gold and Harris tried hard to and did manage to get themselves arrested at the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference as part of a Code Pink-led protest. The boycott push, though just starting, has been marred by incendiary rhetoric from the pro-Boycott side. Last fall, the group promoting the boycott (the Central NY Committee for Justice in Palestine - CNYCJP) posted on its Facebook page a horrible photoshop of Nazi concentration camp inmates holding anti-Israel signs. The photoshop was taken down after I called attention to it and people began to complain. CNYCJP claimed it was done by a former member and without group permission, but it refused to identify the person.

On Sunday, March 1, 2015, we provided on-scene coverage of Code Pink's "Shut Down AIPAC" protest. The most notable feature of the protest was the waving of Hezbollah flags. Code Pink managed to get some press coverage even though it didn't shut down AIPAC, or even an itsy, bitsy part of AIPAC, because five protesters were arrested, including two from Ithaca, my current place of residence. One of the arrestees, Ariel Gold, may be familiar to readers from prior coverage of Gold's efforts to have GreenStar Food Coop in Ithaca boycott Israeli products and products co-owned by Israelis, such as Sabra and Tribe Hummus. Gold is employed as a professional organizer for Friends of Sabeel - North America, a group which works to weaken American Christian support for Israel, and is a leader of Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace. You may recall that when I spoke on local progressive radio against the boycott movement, Gold called into the control room to complain about me in the middle of the interview! Publicity, of course, was the real goal of the Code Pink protest. If all you knew about the arrests was the press coverage, you'd think that the arrests were not the goal, but the byproduct of protesting. Much as the Pallywood fake or staged photo ops are used to gin up press coverage against Israel, however, so too were the arrests at AIPAC. It was pure Pallywood, arrests contrived for the cameras. They weren't arrested for protesting. They were protesting to get arrested for publicity. Don't take my word for it. A Legal Insurrection reader who saw our coverage of the protest sent along a video of Gold speaking at a post-arrest event, in which she admitted it was all a set up:

We are in the midst of "Israel Apartheid Week."  In the U.S. it lasts from February 26-March 12 -- which is more than one week, but anti-Israel groups always take liberties with terminology and numbers. On campuses we will see mock "Apartheid Walls" (referring to the Israeli security barrier); but we will not see any mock suicide bombers, whose relentless self-detonation killed 452 Israeli civilians in 2002 leading to construction of the barrier (a wall in some places, but mostly fencing). Student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, will chant and scream slogans like "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free."  I believe them when they say that. The BDS movement is about the destruction of Israel, even if some naive supporters think otherwise. Guess who is a big, big fan of Israel Apartheid Week? None other than the Supreme Leader of Iran, that beacon of freedom and justice for all, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who tweeted this greeting: He has good reason to gloat.

Today, I braved an ice storm to video protests at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, DC. The nasty weather didn't stop a group of around 60 anti-Israel activists from storming the steps of the Washington Convention Center and blocking at least one entrance to the conference grounds. Code Pink and other anti-Israeli groups went into a frenzy against AIPAC, the "Israel lobby," and what they believe is the "Apartheid" State of Israel. I also saw harassment of men, women, and children who had done nothing to deserve it except make the mistake of revealing their conference badge before they reached the door. Those who were obviously religious Jews (based on their head coverings, clothing, and facial hair) got it worse.  There were shouts of "Go Home" hurled at the attendees. There was also the Hezbollah flag flying overhead, as this video shows.  There were chants that "BDS is the best" (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement), and "The State of Israel's Got to Go."

We are dealing with some really sick minds when it comes to the proponents of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement propaganda machine. The latest is from a group with over 91,000 Facebook fans, called "I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists." That phrase is an integral part of the BDS movement, which falsely seeks to portray Israel as the equivalent of apartheid South Africa. That claim of Apartheid status was the founding propaganda principle of the BDS movement, which was started at the anti-Semitic 2001 Durban conference. The group has posted a photoshop of Nazi concentration camp inmates holding anti-Israel signs, on its Facebook page. It's unclear if the group created it, or is just promoting it. The image is being spread by others as well, such as the Central NY Committee for Justice in Palestine: [Note 11-28-2014 10:15 p.m. - sometime tonight CNYCJP removed the image after complaints were posted in its comments in response to Legal Insurrection's coverage, and after the image was CNYCJP's Facebook page for about two days the cache version of the post is here]