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The Brooklyn BDS Failure

Yesterday, Seth ran down the background of that evening’s Park Slope boycott vote. The motion asked the unintentionally hilarious members of the popular Brooklyn, New York, food co-op to vote on whether they should vote on boycotting Israeli products.

In the end it wasn’t even close:

Initially discussed at a co-op member board meeting over two years ago, the proposed boycott was brought to a vote on Tuesday night, with 1,005 members voting against the boycott and 653 voting in favor. Public Advocate and Brooklyn resident Bill de Blasio said he was proud of his neighbors for doing the right thing, calling the proposal inflammatory and destructive.

The Guardian’s U.S. News blog has a darkly entertaining rundown of highlights from the debate. You have to get past the predictable headline pitting Israeli goods against “human rights,” but after that there are treats like:

“Belonging to the co-op means belonging to justice. And injustice anywhere is an attack on justice everywhere,” said one young woman, who never quite made it clear which way she was leaning. A midwife announced that she had delivered babies on both sides of this argument, and that “peace on earth begins at birth.”

There were also references to hummus-inspired music, musings about the double-valenced implications of Chomsky quotes, and an explanation of how Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) can be properly and positively analogized to uncomfortable “house cleaning” enemas (and now you can’t unknow that!) By all appearances, the debate exceeded even the expectations laid out by the preemptive NY Daily News profile of BDS co-op advocates.

In many ways and on many levels, the Park Slope BDS failure is a perfect update to the failure of BDS across the United States. First BDS pushers tried to get entire left-leaning states to boycott Israel, and they failed. Then they tried to get left-leaning university campuses to divest, at which point they failed again. Now this.

Pity Norman Finkelstein. Having spent decades trying to demonize Israel in the highest international forums, he and his ilk now have to complain bitterly from the sidelines as 21st century anti-Israel activism is reduced to some guy trotting out intestinal cleansing metaphors in a futile effort to get vegan Israeli marshmallows banned from grocery stores in Brooklyn.


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