Boycott of Israel
People’s Books Co-op has voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel, instituting a consumer, cultural and academic boycott of the Israeli state due to significant human rights concerns involved with Israel’s policies against the Palestinian community. The Co-op did this in accordance with the People’s Books Co-op (PBC) boycott policy, which can be read in its entirety below, and after a majority of responding membership and a majority of the board voted for the the boycott.
Regarding the consumer boycott, this means PBC will not purchase, use, or sell any consumer products, goods or services produced by Israeli companies. Regarding the cultural boycott, this means that PBC will not participate in any official Israeli celebrations or festivals and will decline offers to perform or speak in Israel. Regarding the academic boycott, this means that PBC will not cooperate or collaborate with any Israeli academic institutions.
It should be noted that People’s Books Co-op did not previously sell any Israeli products, or have cultural/academic ties with Israel, so this decision does not make any immediate change to the functioning of the Co-op. Nevertheless, this issue was a matter of sufficient concern for the membership, and it establishes procedures for future functioning of the Co-op.
You can read more about the BDS movement by clicking here to visit their web site.
The text of the People’s Books Co-op boycott policy is included below for your reference. Boycotts are a frequent tool of social and economic justice campaigners. Consumer boycotts, such as the famous grape boycott of 1965-70, led by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, are well-known. Cultural boycotts are also common, such as the boycott of South Africa which helped to end Apartheid, or the recent boycott of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, sparked by Russia’s repression of the queer community.
The intent of the PBC boycott policy is to create a clear process whereby stakeholders may bring boycott proposals to the PBC board and membership for consideration, to ensure a transparent process for considering each proposal, and to guarantee democratic member participation in the decision making process, in accordance with long held cooperative values.
People’s Books Co-op
Adopted January 14, 2014
I. People’s Books Co-op will consider any boycott proposal that is presented to the board of directors.
II. Any PBC member, volunteer, or community stakeholder may request time at a regular board meeting to present their boycott proposal. The request must be made in writing at least 7 days prior to a regular board meeting and must describe the nature of the boycott. The board will determine how much time to afford any proposal on a case-by-case basis.
A. At any regular board meeting where the board is presented with a boycott proposal, the board will determine whether or not to forward the proposal to the PBC membership. The board may choose to join and participate in a boycott without forwarding the proposal to the membership. No reasonable boycott requests will be denied an opportunity to be considered by the board.
B. If the board determines that the boycott proposal warrants consideration by the membership, the board will announce, within 24 hours, a 21-day comment period to allow for member input and participation, to commence 7 days from the last regular board meeting. The board will specify the means and forms of comments, such as by email, phone, etc.
1. If, at the end of the comment period, a majority of member opinion is in favor or against the proposal, and a majority of the board shares the sentiments of the membership, PBC will join or not join the proposed boycott for a period of one year, at which time the board will review PBC’s participation in the boycott.
2. If a majority of the board disagrees with the majority of member opinion, or if member opinion is evenly split, the board shall, within 24 hours, announce a special meeting of the membership to allow for additional discussion and deliberation, to take place no sooner than 21 days and not more than 30 days from the most recent regular board meeting.
a. In the case that a special meeting is called a member of the board will facilitate the meeting and will appoint a parliamentarian. The parliamentarian will ensure democratic member participation according to a process agreed upon by the board prior to the special meeting.
b. In the case that a special meeting is called the membership will be asked to vote on the proposal at the close of the special meeting. The board will abide by the decision of a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.
c. In the case of a special meeting of the membership, only those individuals or families who have been members in good standing for at least 30 days will be allowed to vote.
d. The group or individuals that made the initial boycott proposal will be given time to make their presentation to the membership at any special meeting. The amount of time for the presentation shall be determined by the board and made known to those presenting at least 14 days prior.