The Palestinian Authority's international campaign to delegitimize Israel has invaded a high-end food coop in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.
The area, home to more than 65,000 people, including a large, liberal Jewish population, was named one of America's ten best neighborhoods in the 2006 edition of Natural Home magazine. In the year 2000 census, the median annual household income was approximately $96,500.
For months, members of the Park Slope Food Coop have been debating over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) drive to ban Israeli goods and produce from the shelves. In an attempt to pour oil on the roiling waters of dissent, locals have brought in prominent political philosopher and theorist Michael Walzer for a panel discussion on the Middle East conflict, to be held March 4.
Walzer, a prominent political philosopher and professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey is the co-editor of Dissent magazine. Author of 27 books and more than 300 articles, essays and book reviews, he is a political theorist who argues for ethics in wartime and the concept of “complex equality.”
But whether the event will calm the rising tensions or simply escalate the debate further remains to be seen.
Two groups have formed in the ongoing debate. The Park Slope Food Coop Members for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions has been advocating for a ban on Israeli items in order to “fight Israel's human rights violations.”
The “More Hummus, Please” group contends that the boycott delegitimizes Israel as a Jewish State and as a democracy. Other BDS proponents around the world are not nearly as polite, some – like Norman Finkelstein – even going so far as to bluntly explain the movement is committed to Israel's annihilation.
More than 1,000 people are expected to vote on March 27 at a BDS referendum to settle the matter.