On March 27, 2012, the New York Times published a story quoting Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials making deeply offensive and ignorant remarks about members of the Park Slope Food Coop who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.
While other city officials smeared the BDS movement as “anti-Semitic,” Mayor Bloomberg went one step further and accused BDS advocates of wanting “Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred.”
As Coop members who support BDS and who proposed that the Coop have a membership-wide vote on the issue, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the false and slanderous characterizations of the BDS movement and those who support it made by Mayor Bloomberg and the others quoted in the Times article.
In particular, it is deeply ironic that Mayor Bloomberg accuses supporters of BDS of encouraging or wishing to engage in violent acts, as BDS is an integral part of the nonviolent Palestinian civil society movement aimed at achieving the protection of Palestinian rights through exclusively peaceful means.
It is also ironic and worrisome that Mayor Bloomberg and other elected city officials would seek to discourage the Coop from having a democratic vote on the matter, and to do so publicly the day before Coop members cast their ballots.
If Mayor Bloomberg and the others knew anything about the BDS movement, they would know that it is comprised of people of conscience of all faiths, including many Jews, and including many Israeli Jews, who have decided to take action to end Israel’s system of military occupation, colonization, and racial discrimination against Palestinians where politicians like themselves have failed to do so.
If Mayor Bloomberg and the other city officials who have condemned us are truly interested in the safety and future well-being of Israelis – 20 percent of whom are Palestinian – we encourage them to come down to the Coop sometime and we’ll explain what BDS is really about, and why it’s necessary.