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Davis, California

Friday, June 14, 2024

Petition circulates to boycott Israeli goods

Hoping to participate in the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, members of the Davis Food Co-op are petitioning for an initiative to boycott all Israeli products from the grocery store.

The Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights has localized this campaign.

The non-violent campaign was initiated in 2005 and pro-Palestinian organizations from around the world joined. Their aim is to put political and economic pressure on Israel for, what they deem violations of human, civil and political rights toward the Palestinian people.

The store management is not affiliated with the initiative.

“The Co-op does not support or endorse this boycott and wants to make clear it is being organized by members using their rights given in the bylaws,” said Co-op General Manager Eric Stromberg.

Mikos Fabersunne, a coordinator for the Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights, said grassroots movements such as this boycott will help change policies toward this issue.

“The boycott is aligned with the BDS campaign to put pressure on Israel’s economy,” he said. “People have to act on this opportunity to help change the egregious behavior of the Israeli government. The campaign won’t end until [Israel complies] with international law.”

The Co-op sells a small number of Israeli products, including wine, a brand of feta cheese and couscous.

The Co-op is owned and operated by 10,000 shareholders. Its bylaws allow members to decide what to vote on during annual elections.

Five percent of this governing body must sign the petition in order for it to appear on the store’s May ballot. The Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights has been collecting signatures since Jan. 1.

Fabersunne believes the necessary 500 signatures will easily be reached before the March deadline.

Stromberg said the members’ vote can be deemed advisory and not binding if its provisions do not qualify under a legal and proper purpose. The Co-op is reviewing the validity of this boycott initiative because of the possible complications.

“For example, the Co-op sells an olive oil manufactured in the West Bank that is exported through Israel,” Stromberg said. “This boycott requires us to stop selling their product, in turn, hurting Palestinian workers.”

In response to this problem, Fabersunne believes this is part of the process to achieve the overall goal – restoring a free and independent Palestinian state.

“Although this might not seem like a hard hitting strategy, it comes in steps,” Fabersunne said.

Fabersunne said there is substantial change needed.

“Our efforts add another straw to the pile supporting the global community that condemns Israeli action towards the Palestinians,” he said.

Others strongly oppose this boycott because they feel it undermines the state of Israel and is filled with half-truths, according to Karen Firestein, Co-President of Congregation Bet Haverim. Yolo County’s primary Jewish organization, the congregation represents a large portion of Co-op shareholders.

“If the Co-op becomes a political tool for those who want to commandeer it for ideological reasons, it will no longer be able to serve the entire Davis community,” Firestein said in a written statement.

The Davis Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East is also opposed to the boycott and is soliciting signatures for a counter-petition.

Doug Walter, Membership Director of the Co-op, believes the shareholders have strict criteria in selecting products, and moving forward with the boycott will have wide implications.

“We respect and recognize the voters who support this boycott, but anything that proposes to drop items for reasons past product quality makes things complicated,” Walter said. “This directly engages us into an international relations debate.”

Students for Justice in Palestine support the boycott and encourage members to take action.

“There is an image of Israel that has been preserved by the ignorance of their policies,” said SJP president Geoffrey Wildanger. “This boycott brings attention to the facts and should cease when Israel is no longer an apartheid state.”

MICHAEL STEPANOV can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


  1. And Ari, organizations like “Jewish Voice for Peace” which are neither Jewish nor for peace have automatic letters to the editor generators to innundate the media with their message. Thats how desparate they are.
    If you know of a source that will pay me to stand up for my land and my people, I’d love to hear about it. In the meanwhile, I’m just another volunteer.
    Since you seem to be reluctant to click on the UNICEF link, I’ll help you out: These are the rates of stunting due to childhood malnutrition in the region

    Qatar 8%
    Palestinian Territories- 10%
    Lebanon – 11
    Jordan – 12
    Oman – 13
    UAE – 17
    Saudi Arabia – 20
    Kuwait – 24
    Iraq – 26
    Syria – 28
    Egypt – 29
    Yemen – 58

    Yes- Palestinian children fare much better than their neighbors.

    When Israel acquired Gaza in a war it didn’t want, the first thing Israel did was set up mobile vaccination clinics . The life expectancy of Palestinians in 1948 was 48- by the time Israel left, it was 72. This was accomplished largely by wiping out childhood diseases, but also by improved health care. Israel built 177 medical clinics and a sewage treatment plant in Gaza during their brutal genocidal reign. They also built a soccer stadium.

  2. Ariberg is woefully outnumbered and outclassed on this thread, but I’ll add a few comments.

    UNICEF- a highly respected United Nations organization indeed ranked Gaza , after Qatar. Follow the link on Catys post. Palestinian children have less stunting due to malnutrition than children in Egypt or in Jordan. UNICEF’s extensive report confirms this.

    Ari also seems to feel that we should support the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas because they were “democratically elected”. Does he also feel we should live with the results of proposition 8, because it was “democratically” voted into place by California citizens? Does he feel the majority has the right to impose its morality on a minority? Hamas has systematically begun a campaign of terror against its Christian minority (down to just 3,000 people), its women, its queers and its potical dissidents.
    As someone who worked in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, I can emphatically state that there is no apartheid in Israel. Look at Israel’s declaration of independence. It states that Israel
    “it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religion”.
    Israel is the only nation in history that brought blacks out of Africa to live as brothers, not as slaves. Today, 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin live in Israel . Tzion Shenkor, the highest ranking officer in the Israel Defence Forces with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel is the first battalion commander of Ethiopian descent. There are Ethiopian Jews in the Israeli foreign service, including Beylanesh Zevadia, Israeli counsul to the Midwest who says “I always say, wherever I go, and wherever I speak, I’m black and Jewish and a woman. Three minority identities. That’s who I am, I represent Israel very proudly, and that’s the message.”
    Ari- if you are really interested in learning about the history of the Jewish people there are wonderful resouces I could direct you to in Davis. You need only ask.

  3. I don’t know if i should laugh or cry at the misinformation being propagated throughout this comments section by people who are more concerned with personal interests than basic rights and humanity that they are willing to continue to offer FALSE evidence to prove their beliefs.

    Did you seriously just say Gaza’s children are doing better than any other Arab state than Qatar?






    There’s a damn good reason that 55 members of the United States congress just signed on to pressure Barak Obama to help end the blockade…

    The powerful Israeli lobby within this country is so worries about the recent revelations of truth on the issue of Palestine/Israel, that it’s now hiring people to literally sit at their computers and respond to every internet article in hopes of winning back the media war. It’s ridiculous the depths that people will go to hide injustice.

    I invite any of you to come to this tonight,


    lets have an open discussion in person!

  4. The British Mandate of Palestine was divided with 2/3 becoming the Arab nation of Jordan. Being of the Jewish faith is a legal bar to citizenship and/or land ownership in Jordan. In 1937, and again in ’47,it was proposed to re-divide the remaining 1/3. The Arab side rejected compromise, with Azzam Pasha stating that”there will be a slaughter of the Jews like none seen since the time of the Mongols and the Crusades” resulting in the’48 War. In 1964, the Arab League assigned the political not ethnic, designation “Palestinian.” After the ’67 6 Day War, Israel offered to exchange the territories taken for a peace agreement. The Arab states met in Khartoum Sudan and staed,”No peace, no recogniton ,no negotiation.” It seems to me that the actual history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is unknown to some people, and they simply believe the well financed, press release fantasy version of history put out by the Palestinians.

  5. I’m sorry to dominate this thread, but Ari, you are clueless: You make this statement:
    “People in Gaza continue to starve to death”, but its completely made up. I don’t know if you are lying deliberating, or if you just don’t know any better. UNCIEF just did a report on childhood malnutrition- Palestinian children are the second healthiest in the Arab Middle East, after Qatar (which has the second highest GNP in the world, btw) Palestinian children have better nutrition than their neighbors in Egypt and Jordan!

    The report is here:


    Also, an online palestinian paper has posted photos of the Gazan markets: Have you seen these? They are overflowing with food and merchandise for sale. (I assume you don’t read Arabic- you can use Google translate- these photos are from Gaza!)


    The United nations doesn’t even classify gaza as third world- its second tier, and actually is economically stronger than other Aarb nations in the region.

    You’ve swallowed the kool aid, Ari, and you’ve stopped thinking on your own. But its not too late to change. A lie told a million times is still a lie. Stop lying, Ari.

  6. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t make it a fabrication. King made this statement on March 25, 1968. Its well documented. Martin Luther King was a Zionist. I am also a proud Zionist. Zionists, who beleive that Jews have the right to self determination in their ancient homeland come in all colors, nationalities and regions.

    “Cady, where people lived 2,000 years ago is not relevant.”
    It is if you claim the Palestinians are indigeneous. They clearly are not. The Jews have had a continuous presence in that land for over 3,500 years. Anyone who reads history knows that
    Interesting you should mention Germany. The answer to your question is yes. They , along with a fair chunk of the world offer preferential immigration. The legal term for this right is lex sanguinis. Countries that provide such preferences include Armenia, China, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Russia and Spain. Does it only upset you if Israel does it? Why is that?
    They are certainly bypass roads that are available for ALL citizens, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. They exist to avoid situations like this:
    “Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters – Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 – of Katif in the Gaza Strip were killed when two Palestinian terrorists fired on their car. Their white Citroen station wagon spun off the road after the initial shooting, then the attackers approached the vehicle and shot the occupants dead at close range. The Hatuels’ car was riddled with bullets, and the carpet inside was stained with blood. The girls were killed hugging one another. Tali was 8 months pregnant at the time of her murder”
    The security barrier, actually a chain link fence for 95% of its route has reduced the murders of Israels by over 90%. Suicide bombers have becaome a rarity, thanks to the security barrier. It’s a non-violent way to save lives until there is a real peace. And shouldn’t saving lives be our priority?

  7. A quote from the great Ghandi,

    “The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood? Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”

  8. Cady, where people lived 2,000 years ago is not relevant. 2,000 years ago, no white people lived in North America, our ancestors lived in various european lands, does that give me entitlement to that same territory now? May i go to germany and live there just because i have a heritage that dates back thousands of years ago? That’s a completely baseless argument.

    Regarding Hamas, your ignorance shines bright with that comment, considering they were democratically elected in VERY SAME elections suggested by our very own George W. Bush. Of course nobody expected them to win, and since they DID all of a sudden the democratic nature of their elections is ignored.

    And the population… I’m talking about the entire region of “Israel”, Gaza, and the West Bank. Get your facts straight. Studies by Israeli organizations such as the newspaper Al Haaretz have verified that even without the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel in 20 years, an astounding 60 percent of the population will be ARAB.

    Juan Carlos, please point out my language of hate and demonization. I’m just one of many jewish americans who have woken up out of this dream of a false jewish state based off of false notions of freedom under the blanket of a hateful doctrine of Zionism.

    However not all of us are fooled. http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/

    With regards to Apartheid, Juan there are literally roads and highways within Israel that are ONLY available for use by ILLEGAL jewish settlers. There is a massive wall being constructed across the West Bank.

    People in Gaza continue to starve to death while you guys live with your heads in the sand. I suggest you guys attend a film screening of “To Shoot An Elephant” held by the student organization right here in Davis, Students For Justice In Palestine. Atleast have the audacity to challenge your own beliefs.

  9. “The boycott is aligned with the BDS campaign to put pressure on Israel’s economy,”

    Its so much easier to get people to give up their feta cheese, than oh, their Multiple sclerosis treatment or their lap tops or their cell phones. All from Israel. For those involved in the medical field, add this to the boycott list: A team from Israel’s Technion has just developed a non-invasive lung cancer test that analyzes your breath. 86 % accuracy rate. Whats even more remarkable for this “apartheid state” (Ari- are you even old enough to know what that means?)is that the Israeli team that developed this was lead by Dr.Hossam Haick, you guessed it Ari, an Israeli-Arab. No Ari, there is no apartheid in Israel and you fool no one with your language of hate and demonization.

    “The Davis Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East is also opposed to the boycott and is soliciting signatures for a counter-petition.”

    Will someone please post an address or give information on how I can sign the counter-petition, please?


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