15+ Questions for the Board of the Olympia Food Co-op

Just a bit more on the Co-op boycott, three years out. Based on my last posting and some recent conversations, certain questions have crystallized in my mind. I think the Board answering some of these questions in an open way would be a good step in helping to address some of the difficulties which have come about because of the boycott and how it was implemented.

How and why did you make the decision to institute a boycott of Israeli products?

Are you sensitive to the unique relationship between Jews and Israel? If so, why didn’t you approach the Jewish community before the boycott decision? If not, then presumably Jews who support the boycott and argue for it “as Jews” will have no special consideration either, correct?

Why wasn’t the membership in general consulted before the boycott?

From the standpoint of the Board, what were the practical results of the forum held after the boycott decision?

Why hasn’t the Co-op allocated resources to educating about the boycott and issues of Israel and Palestine, and are there any plans to do so?

In your opinion, what has been the actual impact of the boycott decision on the movement for a just peace in Israel and Palestine? How much effort have you put in spreading the boycott to other Co-ops?

Why do you popularly portray yourself as a co-operative, but when push comes to shove, (i.e., defending the boycott decision) you rely on your legal status as a non-profit? Do you ever plan to openly address this discrepancy between perception and reality? Or legally re-incorporate?

Because the OFC is not legally a co-operative, how do you view the general relationship between Co-op members and the Board? In other words, what are the standards and guidelines for when an issue needs to go to the membership for an advisory conversation and when does it not?

In what instances is non-consensus deemed a conflict that needs to be resolved, as it was in this case, and when is non-consensus simply non-consensus?

Irrespective of the issue, why doesn’t a conflict between a subset of the membership and the Board fall under the “conflict resolution” clause of the by-laws?

Since the Board now distinguishes between “staff initiated boycotts” and “Board initiated boycotts,” what are the guidelines and procedures for deciding the latter?

Why did the board decide to use punitive action in making a SLAPP claim against its own members, rather than simply defend itself by invoking its legal authority as a Board of a non-profit?

Was there any conflict of interest in being represented by attorneys who actually wrote the SLAPP statute? (I.e., they would have a vested interest in a legal precedent to support their previous work.) What was the process for hiring the lawyers?

Do the Board members elected subsequent to the boycott who were involved in boycott activities prior adequately vet their conflict of interest in making decisions about the boycott now that they are on the Board?

Now that the Board is on record as affirming corporate personhood and cites Citizens United in its defense, will the OFC be funneling money to political candidates?

Published by


I am a Rabbi, serving the Jewish community of Olympia, Washington and the surrounding area.

3 thoughts on “15+ Questions for the Board of the Olympia Food Co-op”

Thanks for continuing the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s