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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Editorial: Israeli food boycott

Members of the Davis Food Co-op are circulating a petition to boycott all Israeli products from the grocery store.

If 500 members sign the petition, the campaign could appear on the Co-op’s May ballot – where all 10,000 shareholding members will have the chance to vote on whether or not to keep Israeli products in the store.

Organized by the Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights, boycotters have peacefully placed themselves outside of the Co-op asking for members to sign the petition. They claim their aim is to put political and economic pressure on Israel to provide civil and political rights for Palestinians.

Co-op general manager Eric Stromberg said the Co-op sells an olive oil manufactured in the West Bank that is exported through Israel. Such a boycott would then in fact negatively effect Palestinian workers, the very people the Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights are trying to protect. Would petitioners then like to boycott the very people they support?

Although the first amendment entitles these members to peacefully protest and express their beliefs, removing the Co-op’s low number of Israeli products – such as feta cheese and couscous – will not have an impact on the greater scale of this issue. A grocery store is not the correct setting to integrate political issues. It is a place to buy food.

If petitioners feel it is not appropriate for the Co-op to sell these minimal Israeli products, then they can boycott these products by refusing to buy them. Other shoppers can make their own decision regarding Israeli feta cheese and other such products on their own.

Whether it is a brownie, cheese or wine, grocery stores should be kept a place without political conflict for Davis community shoppers.


  1. John, you seem to have the Israelis and the Turkish confused. It’s the Turks who killed the Armenians and deny their genocide. Israel has no problems reminding the Turkish, who also participated in the Holocaust, about turkey’s own role in mass murder.

    As for that purse string comments, you have just outed yourself as an anti-semite. Not anti-zionist, you are an anti-semite for using the stereotype that Jews control the world’s economy. Considering how much of the worl’d oily lifeblood is controled by Muslims, I think that stereotype needs revision.

  2. Funny how the Isreali governement will cite anyone for denying the holocaust, while at the same time, with the same mouth, deny the genocide of millions of Armenian women and children. What? Does the world only deserve YOUR pity? Wait, I forgot who holds the purse strings in this country.

  3. The wall was built in response to a crippling wave of suicide bombings that left thousands of Israelis dead and wounded. Since its construction, there has been a huge reduction in casualties. To me, its like installing a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Its ugly, but if it saves lives, its worth it. And its not an “apartheid” wall- they are Jews and Arabs on both sides of it.
    Israel left Gaza for peace, and in exchange received over 8,000 rockets launched against her civilian population. BDS- you seem disappointed that more Israelis weren’t killed. Each of those rockets was meant to kill, to maim and to terrorize. Bad aim doesn’t make it any less of a war crime.

    The good news is that I went to the Co-op today, and every single Israeli item was sold out. The only good thing I can see with this process is that the supporters of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike are taking a stand, and thats so important. And the ones that are quiet are speaking with their purses- buying up all the yummy Israeli feta ( Its particularly good in spinach salad, with kalamata olives and thinly sliced red onions)

  4. “Apartheid” is a specific, legal term of art that requires an intent to discriminate on the basis of “race.” In the old South Africa ,this intent was both expressed and practiced. It is both ignorant and libelous to apply the term “apartheid” to the Arab-Israeli conflict as it inferes an Israeli intent to discriminate on the basis of “race”, when Israeli intent is otherwise , both as expressd and practiced. Arab citizens of Israel have the exact same rights a Jewish citizens of Israel. Arab citizens of the Palestinian Authority vote in those elections. The security barrier (95% of which is NOT a 25 foot wall. Its a fence except where a sniper barrier was required) is in place to prevent further Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and it has been quite sucessful.The security barrier is not in place to separate “races.” Oddly enough, one of the few things that Jews and Arabs agree on is that there are related peoples. It becomes obvious that the phrase “aartheid” was selected by the “anti-zionists”, not for its actual meaning ,but rather for its negative emotional impact on naive listeners.

  5. We had ‘democracy’ here in the United States, too, and as far back as the time the Constitution was signed…unless you were black, or a woman. We also had rights for working people…unless you had brown skin, spoke Spanish and worked in the fields of the Central Valley of California. Democracy worked very well…for white men. Same was true in South Africa.

    As long as you ignore the existence of people around you who don’t share your skin color, gender, religion, or ethnicity; and you disregard the civil, political and human rights to which they are entitled. Democracy looks alive and well–no problem!

    I suggest that those who tout Israeli ‘democracy’ peer beyond the enclave of their own narrow perspective and try walking in the shoes of others–find out if it seems like a democracy when their homes are demolished; when they are separated from their land and livelihood by a 25 foot wall; when they watch armed Jewish settlers shoot at them while the Israeli IDF stands by and does nothing; when they are held up at checkpoints for hours by an occupying force wherever they want to travel; when they feel the grief of their ancestors who were driven from their homes; and when IDF snipers shoot at their ambulance medics carrying wounded on stretchers. Ask them what it is like when the stones of their children thrown in desperation at armored tanks are returned with bullets, artillery shells, and lengthy detentions in prison without trial; when they see 1400 of their people, including over 300 of their children killed in 23 days from F-16s, Apache helicopters, tank shells, and white phosphorous, while those from the ‘democratic’ state of Israel claim they had to do so in self-defense against the rockets fired by militants–rockets that killed fewer than 40 Israelis over an 8-year period.

    Then, once you gain a better sense of what it’s like, figure out how to respond, if you truly want democracy for everyone. You might find that when you can’t rely on your government to end its collusion with the suppression of democracy, you might have to rely upon boycotts, such as the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, the international boycott of goods from South Africa, and the UFW boycott of grapes and lettuce in California, to bring attention to the injustices preventing that democracy which you claim to covet. You might find that the Davis Food Co-op, in recognizing the importance of doing so, has supported such boycotts in the past. Then you might see how Co-op members can add their voices to the call to stop the present-day injustice. You might even vote in upcoming Co-op election to do so.

  6. I have a better idea. Lets petition the Davis co-op to stop selling all American made products because of American’s abusive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And lets petiton the co-op to stop selling anything from China because of their genocidal oppression of the Tibetan People. We could go on like this for a long time….

  7. Shop at the Davis Co-op on Feb 14!

    The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement is an tactic from the anti-apartheid effort now adopted by the anti-Israel groups in the US and Europe. Of course, it completely ignores the fact that Arabs in the State of Israel have citizenship and full and equal political and civil rights. and that there is no apartheid in the Mid-East’s only democracy.

    Periodically, this effort targets stores selling Israeli products, in an effort to persuade them to stop stocking them. This time, they have focused their efforts on the Davis Co-op. The good news is that Co-op isn’t buying the garbage being peddled by the anti-Israel groups.

    So, go to the Davis Co-op and show Israel some love on Sunday, Feb. 14 for Valentine’s day.

    1. Buy a whole bunch of Israeli products (if they are off the shelf, maybe someone else read this and bought the entire stock– so go to the store manager and tell him/her they need to buy more!)

    2. Tell the store manager to keep stocking these products because you really like them!

    3. Also tell the store manager that we’ve declared Feb. 14 as a “National Day to Buy Israeli Products” so they can be prepared. And please pass the couscous.

  8. I would be ashamed to be a member of a Food co-operative that has singled out one country to boycott in this manner… Are people so easily mislead ?

  9. My father owns several small grocery stores in San Francisco. He is an Israeli Arab. His stores are filled with Israel groceries. If you asked him to do what you are asking the Davis co-op to do, he would laugh at you. Why?

    He grew up eating Israel brands. They are the food he is familiar and comfortable with .
    Israel food is Kosher and Hallal.
    By buying Israel products, we benefit all people in Israel, Arab, Christian and Jew alike. When the Israel economy does well, all people in Israel benefit.
    Boycotts only hurt the most disenfranchised people in a society- the poor, children, minorities. A real boycott would hurt Arabs in Israel. My family would lose jobs.
    Most Arabs in Israel would be offended that you think this action will help them

  10. Its rather amazing that on a university campus, that there are people that believe in a fantasy version of Middle East history and never bother to read up on reality. The vast majority of the ancestors of todays self-identified Palestinians were economic migrants during recent, historic times i.e. the 1910 Syrian famine, the 1882 Bosnian colonization of Ceasarea etc. Thats why UNRWA only required residence between ’46-48 to be a “refugee.” The political designation of Palestinian was assigned only in 1964 by the Arab League. It is not possible to “restore” a nation of “Palestine”, as there has never been an Arab nation of Palestine, ever. 2/3 of the British Mandate of Palestine was ethnically cleqansed of Jews and made into Jordan. The West Bank was re-named from Judea and Samaria only in 1948, as it was West of the Jordan river to Jordanians when they illegally attacked, conquered and annexed it. It is important to think for oneself and not to simply swallow the collection of myths, fabrications and prevarications called the “Palestinian narrative.”


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