I’m still trying to find some time to do a little historical unreality fiction at the expense of my old friends at JVP, but in the meantime here’s one missed news story and one observation on the Olympia boycott (something I threw out on the Co-op’s message board that I thought my reader might enjoy).
On the newfront, it looks like Johnny Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols), who will be headlining a music festival in Israel next month, has told critics exactly what they can do with their boycott requests. And as a Pistols fan from the 1980s, I think it’s safe to say that when Johnny Rotten gives you the finger, you know you’ve been fingered.
Regarding the Olympia Co-op, it occurred to me that an interesting paradox is afoot with their decision to boycott Israeli products.
For by the co-op’s own standards, boycotts are directed at those who are guilty of something that is legally or morally repugnant. The guilt of the party which is being targeted by boycott is not in dispute, even if the specifics of the punishment must be negotiated.
But if you look at the number of co-op members who are voluntarily boycotting Israel since the boycott vote was taken, that number has not risen at all. Certainly members are being forced to shop in a place where the choice to buy or not buy Israeli goods is no longer available to them, but no members have made a personal choice (moral or otherwise) to boycott the Jewish state. In fact, many members seem to be going out of their way to purchase the boycotted and other Israeli products from other stores in the area (which are volunteering to carry these goods).
In contrast, many members have chosen to boycott an institution: the co-op itself. And by the co-ops own standards, an organization targeted by a boycott is guilty (although it remains to be seen if the co-op is guilty of ethical, moral or legal failures or some other crime).
So if an institution (the Olympia Co-op) that has been judged by its own standards (and members) to be unethical, immoral or possibly something worse is now sitting in judgment of someone else (in this case, Israel), then people need to ask by what standards this condemned institution is using to establish its moral superiority?