24 September '10
I must admit to having been out of the loop while the whole Port Townsend Co-op story was unfolding (for reason I hope to let you in on shortly).
The fact that Port Townsend continues the trend of co-ops rejecting boycotts of Israeli goods (a trend interrupted only briefly by the strange goings-on at the Olympia Co-op) is still the big story. But I thought it worth pointing out the many ways things went right in this one part of Washington (at least to contrast it with everything that went wrong just 200 miles away at Olympia).
Before starting, it’s important to point out that no community should have to go through the type of ugly conflicts that always accompany a BDS battle. So while Port Townsend is a success story vis-à-vis how a community deals with boycott and divestment issues when they are forced upon them, far more successful are those institutions that know enough to stop BDS at the door before it can drag the Middle East conflict into their organization.
All that said, no one can make the claim that the Port Townsend Co-op didn’t involve its members (all its members – regardless of their political opinion) in the communication and decision-making process vis-à-vis the boycott. Notices went out, public meetings were held, and (most importantly) members were listened to before the decision to boycott or not boycott was made. (Contrast this with most BDS “victories” in which members of an organization only find out that a divestment or boycott decision was made after the fact.)
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