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.