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June 1, 2015 4:26 pm

Tel Aviv Legal Group Threatens Park Slope Food Co-op With Lawsuit Over BDS Measures

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Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. Photo: Mike Cohen.

A prominent Israeli activist litigation group has threatened the Park Slope Food Co-op with a lawsuit if the supermarket adopts a boycott of Israeli products, the Algemeiner has learned.

“The Park Slope Food Co-op has to understand that we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit against them the minute they implement any anti-Israel boycott,” said Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leithner in a statement.

“Boycotts are not protected speech and they are actionable in [New York] under both criminal and civil law as illegal discrimination” on the basis of race or national origin, she said.

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The Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center said it sent the Park Slope Food Co-op President William Penner and General Manager Joseph Holtz a letter warning them “not to implement a boycott of Israeli manufacturers, products or services.”

Shurat HaDin’s admonishment to legal action came about a month after the issue of boycotting Israeli products was raised at the food co-op’s monthly meeting, along with a slideshow presentation that quickly grew rowdy as members rushed the stage to unplug a projector showing slides of alleged Israeli military abuse against Palestinians.

Holtz had told Haaretz at the time he had never seen such great disagreement over boycott measures, such as the decision to withdraw Coloradan products after the state passed anti-gay measures or South African products during the apartheid era.

He said it was the first time in 42 years co-op members had ever rushed the stage during a meeting.

“The BDS movement, which spreads racist lies and promotes violence is inherently biased and prejudicial and has an extremist agenda that unfairly singles out Israel and Jews,” accused Shurat HaDin, in the statement released on Monday.

BDS activists at the Park Slope food co-op indicated on their website that their principle target is SodaStream, an Israeli carbonated beverage company that recently closed its factory in the West Bank and moved it to Israel’s Negev region.

Shurat HaDin says its goal is to “bankrupt terrorism, one lawsuit at a time,” and its activist litigators have filed lawsuits most notably against organizers of the Gaza flotilla, which attempted to break through Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, as well as former president Jimmy Carter, over a book he wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a related case, last week the Washington Supreme Court reinstated a case in which members of the Olympia Food Co-op sued its board for voting to adopt a boycott of Israeli products in 2011.

The Olympia food co-op is the only such supermarket to pass BDS measures.

In 2014, the New York State Senate passed a bill that prohibited state funding of academic institutions that adopt “an official action boycotting certain countries or their higher education institutions,” apparently in response to the American Studies Association’s vote to adopt anti-Israel BDS measures.

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  • Leonard H. Berman

    Dear Algemeiner,

    Would you kindly send your news letter to my e-mail address.

    It currently goes to another.

    Len Berman

  • Jahn

    BDS is a global movement, and threatening and filing lawsuits will not stop the movement. It serves instead to spread further awareness of Israel’s desperation to silence all criticism of its policies and actions. Those who participate in the movement understand that this non-violent effort is an effective means to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, and call for an end to the occupation and ongoing ethnic cleansing. Workers and taxpayers who contribute to funds want them to invest in companies that respect their workers and honor human rights wherever they operate and to know their funds are not tied to human rights violations. BDS’ demands are fully compatible with, and derived from, international standards for human rights. 2015 will find more countries, academia, businesses, churches and individuals calling for and passing resolutions divesting themselves of their investments in Israel.

    • In that case we should boycot products from all Arab and Moslem nations for their human right abuses; too numerous to list…………Oh wait…they don’t make anything.

      • Adele Gauer

        Love your comment.

    • Michael Mulcahy

      Jahn, your “comment” rehashes ridiculous rhetoric that is unsupported by any facts on the ground. Once again I have to wonder why giving people good jobs with benefits is such anathema? The reason, of course, is that people such as you see correct idealogy as much more important than actually improving people’s lives.

      • Jahn

        Michael, the definition of rhetoric is “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques”, but I’m sure that’s not what you meant. As for supported by facts, the BDS movement was largely responsible for ending apartheid in South Africa. It’s effective, and it works, with is evident by the great lengths which are being taken to stop it. If by ideology you mean a set of standards of acceptable behavior, yes, that takes precedence over whether a company or person profits off of the continued oppression of the Palestinian people.

        • Rafi

          You’re funny to read Jahn, you sound so smart, like a Nazi SS officer being unpacked from his Argentine steamer trunk at Ben Gurion Airport. But you weren’t too good at guessing what Michael meant by rhetoric.

          Tell me if I’m wrong Michael but I think you meant “propaganda, sloganeering, misinformation, discredited political talking points, et cetera.” Because that’s what you’re doing in your little nudnick way.

          You see Jahn, there are a lot of Jews who want to try to hide and blend in and agree with you and your hateful associates in the hope of not having to endure even the superficial effects of your tyrannical and oppressive anti-Jewish obsession.

          But then there are the Jews of Israel and its supporters, Jew and Gentile a like, who see the reality and understand the lie behind the movement for another Palestinian state.

          The distinctions are being drawn very starkly now. It is clear now that half a million dead Syrians will not distract a dedicated Jew hater like you Jahn. Moslem Huns rampaging across countries and killing innocent people doesn’t seem to be a trigger for reprioritizing your search for a villain. Even when the members of the Moslem horde murder those labeled as “Palestinian”, it is not enough to distract you from your obsessive Jew hatred and the misbelief that lies behind it.

          The world represented by you needs for Israel to end. Why? I don’t know, don’t ask me, why don’t you ask Hitler or Himmler or one of your friends, or ask Chimielnitski the leader of the infamous pogrom.

          Or ask the leaders of the many inquisitions in Spain, France, England, Italy. Ask the Popes. Ask the current communistic Pope who is also a hater of Israel. While we’re on the subject of the Catholic Church, how about asking the Romans and their Emperors that also thought there should be no Israel and so renamed it “Palestine” after the ancient enemy of King David, Goliath, the Philistine?

    • Tamar

      Big words, little meaning. Your references are naive at best. Get the facts. Visit Israel. Stop the lies.

  • Lynne T

    I have enormous respect for Nitasana and Shurat Ha’din, but this is really an action that members of the co-op should be pursuing, and people opposed to the boycott should also be asking the Southern Poverty Law Resource Centre to investigate the main proponents of BDS, Israel Apartheid Week, etc. for hate crimes.

  • Noel Hershfield

    Not the first time some organization is finally fighting the cultural jihad!

    • Adele Gauer

      Good to prosecute this and other groups who claim sympathy with human rights but project and support anti-Semitism.

  • Harvey

    There needs to be a carefully coordinated tie in with UK and US law firms in order to present a robust legal challenge to BDS initiatives . Shurat leads the way and now others must follow in order to hit BDS in the pocket and make them think twice before they attempt to replicate the 30 s boycott of Jewish owned businesses by the Nazis

    • Gene F

      You can “robust” all you like. Im bypassing Made in Israel every chance I get. And your mention of the Nazis is almost a pre requisite when defending anything Israeli.

      • Betty A

        Gene F. I am positive that your boycott will give back more of the land that she occupies because she won the 6 Day War when your buddies attacked her during a religious festival.

        • Jahn

          Betty A., you might want to brush up on the historical account of the 6 Day War. Israel started the war and attacked first. It’s well documented that Israel strategically saw it as an opportunity to capture more land knowing that Egypt was not militarily prepared. The ultimate goal has always been to expand it’s non existent boarders, that goal has not changed since 1947.

          • Bill

            Jahn,

            I think you should brush up on your history. Egypt started the war by closing the Straits of Tiran. Israel had warned Egypt repeatedly that doing so would be considered an act of war and Egypt did so anyway.

            And Israel’s goal was not to expand its borders. Israel told Jordan that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan, but Jordan attacked anyway. And Israel begged Egypt to take Gaza back in their subsequent peace negotiations but Egypt refused.

  • Everybody knows what does mean “Private Donors”! since the Nazi Party at least ! (the Biggest influential Banks and Industrialists You cab add also the Private Donors to Bolsheviks Revolution (Hammer Warburg and some other F….. Billionaires crazy Jews…
    Competitors of the first ones…!!!
    This is an answer of Mr Cohen, considering the readers as full idiots!?

  • steven L

    Where are all the second Jewish sons gone? The first is an MD and the 2nd a lawyer!!!!! Where ARE THEY?

  • Elisheva

    People are so quick to rush and condemn without really knowing the facts. I hope the BDS crowd think twice before taking action. Sodastream has been an employer of Palestinians and these BDS movements do not help their cause. I lived in Colorado when they were accused of being anti-gay. The facts were totally distorted.

  • Isaac Semaya

    The BDS action that forced SodaStream to move out of the West Bank only hurt the Arab workers who were employed there. They were paid the same as the Jewish workers. SO TO BDS CONGRATULATION FOR HURTING YOUR FELLOW ARABS. You must be out of your minds.

    • Betty A

      They could care less about hurting other Arabs as long as they think they have hurt Israel. Just look at any of their attacks on Israel!

  • Chaim Birnboim

    A friend and I first heard Nitsana Darshan-Leitner speak at a conference in Israel in 2009, then again in Ottawa a few months ago. She is an amazing woman, with the courage of her convictions that should make the rest of us blush with shame. She has chosen to fight to defend Israel, with many successes, using the legal system in many jurisdictions around the world. I wish her success in this particular battle and the many battles that lie ahead.

  • Steven Kalka

    I’d like to know when the food co-op members intend to give up Chinese food until China stops organ harvesting of Fulan gong members and mandatory abortions above one child per family. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Harold Merskey

    Bravo!

  • Mazel-Tov, about time we had a defensive argument against these bullies.

  • BRYNABABY

    oops- correction started, not starting

  • Julian Tepper

    Re the Park Slope Food-Coop case, if you need it I’ll volunteer my time.

    Julian Tepper
    AV-Rated Attorney
    Retired
    Brooklyn, NY
    jtjttomtom@gmail.com

  • MH8169

    I agree totally the importance to challenge racist behavior. The Co-Op members need to know their actions have serious consequences.

  • Eric R.

    Park Slope is full of leftist kapo Jews.

    • Marta

      I agree with your comment, Eric.

  • If you are impressed by what you read in this article, then please also read this:

    Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center is a fully independent non-profit organization, unaffiliated with any political party or governmental body.

    Shurat HaDin‘s budget relies entirely on the generosity of donors:”

    http://IsraelLawCenter.org/donations/

  • herb Glatter

    Bravo Nitsana thank you for the good work you do in behalf of the Jewish people

    • Steven

      Bravo! Between this and the No Fracking sign in their window, no wonder I can’t imagine joining the PSFC

    • BRYNABABY

      It’s about time we liberal, to-the-left Jews, starting fighting back against the absolute lies and distortions BDS’er spread all over the world. Thank you for doing this.

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