Thursday, September 2, 2010

[wvns] Desmond Tutu Endorses Food Co-op’s Boycott

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Endorses Olympia Food Co-op's Boycott of Israeli Goods
July 28, 2010

(Olympia, WA – July 27, 2010) The Olympia Food Co-op's decision to honor the international call for boycott of Israeli goods has inspired an inundation of phone calls, e-mails, and petition signatures supporting the solidarity gesture, including an endorsement from South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
The Archbishop endorsed the boycott with the following statement: "I, Desmond Tutu, fully support and endorse the Olympia Food Co-op's boycott of Israeli products. The Olympia Food Co-op has joined a growing worldwide movement on the part of citizens and the private sector to support by non-violent tangible acts the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination. Cooperatives have a long history of working for and with the oppressed to strive for a better world, and now Olympia Food Coop has been the first to build off of that legacy in support of freedom for Palestinians. I encourage other cooperatives, grocers, and businesses to follow their courageous example of boycotting Israeli goods and for shoppers to support their principled stand."

Palestinian Civil Society Endorsement

The Co-op has also received the endorsement of all major Palestinian agricultural and farmers' unions. In a letter received July 26, the organizations make the following statement:

"The Olympia Food Co-op has demonstrated its courage and commitment to human rights by adopting a concrete and courageous measure in a show of genuine solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian people [...] We sincerely hope that their decision to stand with justice will not waver under the immense intimidation and bullying that Israel lobby groups will undoubtedly unleash against them. We believe that the most effective support conscientious individuals and groups across the US can provide to the Olympia Food Co-op is by starting their own local BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaigns that follow Olympia's lead, branding Israeli products and services everywhere as stained with injustice and war crimes, just as South African products were treated during apartheid. Only thus can justice prevail and peace be attained and sustained."

Endorsers of the letter included the General Union of Palestinian Peasants and Co-op Groups, Union of Palestinian Farmers, Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW), Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Union of Palestinian Agricultural Engineers, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and National Committee for Popular Resistance, Popular Committees against the Wall and Settlements in Nil'in, Bil'in, Al-Maasara, Nabi Saleh, Budros, Beit Jala, and Wadi Rahal.

Outpouring of Support

The Olympia Food Co-op has been the focus of international attention since the July 15 decision to honor the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) for human rights. The Co-op became the first US grocer to publicly join this call.

Richard Falk, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories states, "The Olympia Food Co-op boycott of Israeli products bravely joins a growing worldwide movement on the part of citizens and the private sector to support by non-violent tangible acts the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination."

"Rachel Corrie took a stand in March 2003 for a Palestinian family whose home was threatened with demolition," says boycott supporter Cindy Corrie, the mother of the slain human rights activist. "We believe it fitting that the Olympia Food Co-op, of which she was a member, now stands with millions throughout the world who say, `Enough.'"

"This outpouring of support demonstrates the global impact of decisions made in Olympia," says boycott supporter Chance Kroll. "As a co-op member it makes me keenly aware that what I buy makes a tangible difference to the Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers who risk imprisonment or even death for their work."

The online petition in support of the boycott has received over 1600 signatures from the community and internationally. The list currently grows by about 200 signatures each day. A list of other notable endorsers is attached, and can be found at


Olympia Food Co-op Decides to Boycott Israeli Goods
July 17, 2010

Last night the Olympia Food Co-op made history. The board of directors came to consensus to boycott Israeli goods! In doing so they become the first grocery store in the country to make this historic decision and join the growing international call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Olympia is at the forefront of the growing BDS movement in the United States. The board and the staff may come under attack and we need to step up and let them know how much support they have.
So now what?

Thank the Olympia Food Co-op, and show them support by emailing them at or at
Next time you are shopping at the co-op, thank a co-op staff member for the board's decision to support human rights and freedom.
Write a comment card in support of the boycott in one of the Olympia Food Co-op Stores.

Because the hard working co-op staff is the face of the co-op, they will also be put into the situation where they are expected to answer for the boycott. A voice of support can go a long way to making this an easier process for them.

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