Q. Why should the Co-op get involved in this international effort?
The Co-op BDS campaign is grounded in the fundamental principles of the Co-op which include that it is democratic and that “members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.”  Respecting human rights is at the core of social responsibility. By adding its voice to this important effort, the Co-op is taking an important stand for human rights , as it did previously in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions of South Africa to force it to end apartheid, and in its support of all the boycotts called by the United Farm Workers during the 1960’s and ’70’s.  In addition, it also participated in boycotts against Nestle, Coors, Del Monte, and Dole products, as well as all yellow-fin tuna.

Q. What would the resolution do?

A. The resolution would direct the Co-op Board to honor the International Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) to end Israeli human rights violations, occupation, and apartheid. Initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society, this call for BDS will end when Israel obeys international law and stops violating the rights of the Palestinian people.  This includes: 1) ending the occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights; 2) assuring that Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal rights; and 3) respecting Palestinian refugees right to return, guaranteed under UN Resolution 194.

Q. What would the Co-op need to do to honor the BDS call?

A. The Co-op would stop carrying the Israeli products (6424 Osem Israeli Couscous, Feta Cheese and Elderberry extract) it currently has and would not stock new products from Israeli companies.  If it has money invested in Israeli companies or bonds, it would terminate those investments.  It would refrain from dealing with non-Israeli companies that sell products or services to Israel that are used to violate the human rights of the Palestinians.

Q. What are Israel’s violations of International Law?

A. Since its founding in 1948, the state of Israel has repeatedly violated the Geneva Conventions and International Law, defying over seventy UN resolutions (see jewsagainsttheoccupation.org for a partial list). Israel has ignored the rulings of the International Court of Justice to dismantle its illegal settlements and the apartheid wall. Israel has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for its 22-day attack on Gaza December ’08 – January ‘09.  On a daily basis, Israel violates the rights of the 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, against whom it maintains an illegal military occupation, confiscates Palestinian land and water, demolishes Palestinian homes, farms and orchards.

Q. Why address Israel’s human rights violations?

A. Our government gives Israel in excess of $3 billion dollars a year, aid which facilitates Israel’s continued violations of the rights of the Palestinians. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions are legitimate, moral, nonviolent actions that have been successful where governments have failed, for example in South Africa, in India, and in the grape boycott to support farm workers.  The BDS effort to pressure Israel, modeled after the international campaign that helped end apartheid in South Africa, empowers citizens to take action when their governments, like ours, have failed to stop human rights abuses.

Q. Why a boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) effort?

A. “The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa. It’s time. Long past time.” explains Naomi Kline in her January 2009 article: Enough. Time for a Boycott. “The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa….Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic.  The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.”

Q. Is the BDS campaign anti-Jewish?
A. This charge has been used as a tactic by those seeking to silence critics of Israel, and it is false.  The BDS campaign and the boycott initiative are about human rights–not religion–and this is recognized by Jewish organizations who support the campaign. “We assert that organizing for justice in Palestine is not anti-Jewish; it is simply humane, in ways that are entirely coherent with struggles for justice elsewhere in the world and at other times in history, “states the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network in an Open Letter to Members of University Communities around the world.  The Open Letter continues “We pledge our whole-hearted commitment to Campaigns for campus-based boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. We support student organizing led by or supporting Palestinians in their struggle for justice.”  (www.ijsn.net/422)

Q. How would participating in the BDS effort affect the Co-op?

A. If Co-op shareholders vote to honor the international call for BDS, it means they support this important effort.  In the short term, some of the Co-op members who did not support the resolution may be unhappy it passed, whether that will affect their patronage of the Co-op is unknown.  If their patronage is affected, the affects may well be offset by the new or increased patronage of member and non-member shoppers who support the BDS. Over the long haul, taking a stand to support human rights will hold the Co-op in good stead.

Q. What about other Davis stores that carry Israeli products?
A. All stores in Davis should join the BDS effort and not stock Israeli products until Israel complies with international law and stops violating the rights of the Palestinian people.  The Co-op can serve as a model for democracy and human rights that can encourage other store owners to do the same.

Q. How would the success of the BDS campaign affect Israel
A. Like the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Israeli government would have to change its policies and practices that violate the rights of the Palestinians and it would have to restore to Palestinians refugees their homes and lands or compensate them for these.  It would have to remove its military and colonists from the West Bank and the Golan Heights.  It would have to become a full democracy for all its citizens, regardless of their religious or ethnicity. As it has over past sixty years, it would receive more immigrants, this time, Palestinian refugees returning to their homes.  These changes will require adjustments but such changes open the possibility for a better future where human rights are respected.  Not making this changes assures a worse future for all who reside in Palestine/Israel.

Q. Where can I get more information?
.  To learn more about the international BDS effort, including who has endorsed it, go to The Global BDS Movement website (bdsmovement.org).  There are many groups involved in BDS in the U.S., a number of these are part of the U.S. Campaign, www.endtheoccupation.org.  For information about the Davis campaign, email: bds_movement@sbcglobal.net.


The Co-op Board has denied Co-op members the possibility to vote on the following resolution:


Whereas the Davis Food Coop ascribes to the principles of cooperatives as adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance, which states that cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others;

Whereas the Davis Food Coop previously has taken positions of social responsibility, including joining international boycotts that enable non-governmental organizations to help resolve unjust situations when their governments have failed to do so;

Whereas a global, non-violent international effort known as “The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign” (BDS Campaign), which is similar to that used to end apartheid in South Africa, was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society and has been joined by non-governmental organizations around the world to put economic and political pressure on the State of Israel to stop its ongoing, violations of the human, civil, and political rights of the Palestinian people living in the West Bank, Gaza, and in the State of Israel, and violations of the rights of Palestinian refugees and their descendants; and considering that there are now serious allegations that the State of Israel committed war crimes in its December 2008 – January 2009 attack on the people of Gaza;

Whereas the government of the United States continues to provide the State of Israel with political and diplomatic support, military aid in excess of $3 billion annually, loan guarantees and other forms of economic aid that enable the State of Israel to continue its military occupation and colonization of the West Bank and the siege on Gaza;

Whereas the government of the United States has repeatedly failed to apply effective diplomatic pressure on the State of Israel to require that it end its violation of international law and the rights of the Palestinian people, and appears to have no intention of changing its policy toward the State of Israel;

Now, therefore, we the shareholders of the Davis Food Coop resolve that the Board of Directors of the Davis Food Coop honor the BDS Campaign by establishing a policy to: 1) halt the importation, purchase, or sale of any and all Israeli goods; 2) refrain from supporting companies that sell products or services to Israel and which are used to violate the human rights of Palestinians, 3) divest any financial interests in Israeli private and state-owned enterprises that the Davis Food Coop may have, and 4) act in accordance with the principles established by the BDS Campaign until the conditions of the campaign are met, specifically that the State of Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands; dismantles the Separation Barrier; recognizes the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respects, protects, and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 194.

Co-op Principles (available on line at http://www.daviscoop.com/whatis.html#principles).

1st Principle: Voluntary And Open Membership: Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control: Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are organised in a democratic manner.
3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. They usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4th Principle: Autonomy And Independence: Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
5th Principle: Education, Training And Information: Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public—particularly young people and opinion leaders—about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6th Principle: Co-Operation Among Co-Operatives: Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
7th Principle: Concern For Community: While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.


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