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May 11, 2015 2:22 pm

Borough Park Jews Blamed for Failure of Anti-Israel Park Slope Coop Boycott

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

Park Slope Food Coop. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Activists in favor of boycotting Israeli products at the Park Slope Food Coop lamented in an article the strong showing of Borough Park residents among the cooperative’s membership, which the New York Daily News on Monday said was basically a swipe at the local Jewish community.

In an article written by boycott, divestment and sanctions activist Ann Schneider for New York online newspaper the Indypendent last week, the divestment proponent appeared to lament the strong presence of Borough Park residents among the food cooperative’s members.

Speaking to her friend and “long-time member” Carol Lipton, Schenider wrote: “[Lipton] reminded me that the  Coop had a membership drive in the 90’s and reached out to Borough Park, rather than Red Hook, Sunset Park or Brooklyn’s Chinatown. While we have worked for four decades to create a community based on cooperation, equality, diversity, organic farming and sustainability, ‘we’ve incorporated members whose core values are the antithesis of ours, except for the common denominator of concern for healthful and cheap food,’ Lipton said.”

Borough Park is home to the largest Orthodox Jewish community outside Israel.

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Meanwhile, Schneider’s comments quickly caused a stir. The New York Daily News wrote an editorial pithily summing up Schneider’s argument as, “Those damn Borough Park Jews ruined everything.”

The Park Slope Food Coop is a successful, decades-old experiment in a collectively owned business, that has grown into a $50 million a year enterprise with 6,000 square feet of selling space.

Brandishing a mission statement that includes ensuring “diversity and equality” and accommodating the “opinions, needs and concerns of every member,” several of the cooperative’s members in 2012 attempted to pass a motion adopting BDS measures, but failed.

Recently, supporters of BDS at the cooperative, Schneider included, have sought to reintroduce a motion that would remove from the coop items produced by SodaStream, which recently announced plans to close its West Bank plant.

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