OK – Another institution has decided to take the plunge into the BDS waters. So let’s all set our watches for what is going to happen next.
The Olympia Co-op story is similar to Somerville and Berkeley in that the decision to join the world-wide boycott movement against Israel was made by a group of leaders (the co-op’s board) working closely with BDS activists to craft their decision, but taking into account virtually no one else that the board was supposedly elected to represent.
Now co-op rules apparently say that the board can boycott anyone they like without consulting the membership. So if we are to get into a debate about the board’s responsibility (which we will on another day), it will be a discussion of propriety and judgment vs. breaking the law or the organization’s own rules.
For now, however, we can classify Olympia as comparable to those other BDS “victories” where members of an organization, church, or city wake up one morning to discover that a community in which they’ve been a member for years is now being touted on Al Jazeera as holding a political opinion (such as the BDS Israel=Apartheid analogy) that many members finds abhorrent .
Apparently a meeting will be held in early August to discuss the decision the Co-op has already made regarding handing their reputation over to the boycott brigade. If history is any guide, this will lead to a second meeting and then finally a third when the co-op (which by now will have realized the consequences of their original decision) will have to vote to reject or double-down on this ill-conceived boycott project.
So I predict three meetings in August and September that will be increasingly populous, increasingly long, and increasingly shrill, with people who once smiled at each other in the food aisles shoving photos of bloody babies into one another’s faces, after giving many speeches that include such phrases as “blood on your hands,” “international law demands” and (of course) “Speaking as a Jew…”.
You can all get a little taste of what the Olympia Co-op’s board has wrought unto the organization by scanning the comments section of the Co-op itself, the local newspaper and this poll. As usual, comments on this subject outnumber any other discussion by a factor of 10x heading to 30-50x. And (equally as usual) those comments have degenerated into accusations of bad faith, apologia for murderers, bigotry and criminality (directed against Israel and its supporters, and the boycotters and their supporters). Given the small size of the Olympia community, I predict these comments will top out at the 100-150 mark (vs. the usual 300-500), but it should give everyone a taste of what delightful topics of conversation are in store for the community for the rest of the year.
And so BDS injects its toxins into another institution. And, as usual, it’s a friendly, welcoming organization that prides itself on its commitment to justice and human rights, even if its political choices are based more on moral vanity and political fads than an understanding of facts and issues.
While I’m no fan of politics based on striking poses, I must say there are worse sins in the universe than vain overreach. Which is why I’m left feeling kind of sorry for the Olympia Co-op over what is about to hit their community due to the ill-conceived decisions of a few, acting at the behest of a not-so-innocent BDS “movement” that is smacking its lips at the thought of dragging the circus to another community, no matter what the cost.