Leading New York City politicians affirmed their opposition to a boycott of Israeli products by the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, a day before the company is expected to vote on the proposal, the New York Times reported.
City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, called the idea “ill conceived” while public advocate and likely mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio, said it was “madness.”
“I’m pained that an organization that has done so much good would wade into these waters,” de Blasio asserted.
Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, also a likely mayoral candidate, said the co-op “should not be torn apart” by a proposal he believes to be anti-Semitic.
“This action is an unwarranted attack on one of America’s strongest allies and an embarrassment to our city,” he claimed.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called Israel a close ally and said he wondered why the co-op would conduct a foreign policy debate, the Times reported.
“Why any of this has anything to do with selling food, I don’t know,” Bloomberg said. “I think it has nothing to do with the food. The issue is there are people who want Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred, and America is not going to let that happen.”
The co-op’s issued a statement calling on its members to save the date for the meeting and vote on whether to have a referendum saying, “We believe that the PSFC should join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).”
The co-op described BDS as “a nonviolent tactic recently adopted by the decades-long Palestinian movement to end Israel’s violent and illegal occupation of their lands, gain equal rights, and achieve peace freedom and economic stability.”
“We feel that the BDS movement is an historically important struggle and that every PSFC member’s voice should be heard in a decision on the issue,” the statement continued.
While the co-op imports only a small amount of goods from Israel, the vote is highly symbolic due to the increasingly hostile debate regarding the boycott of Israeli products and companies, which is seen as a microcosm of the larger debate regarding the legitimacy of the Jewish state.