The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complicated affair, and if one really wishes to demonstrate an understanding of it, it requires a thorough reading in Jewish religious devotion to the land of Israel, 19th century Great Power diplomacy, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, antisemitism, Nationalism in general, Zionism in particular, the development of a Palestinian national consciousness, the British Mandate, Jewish immigration, Arab hostility to said immigration, the War of Independence, etc. etc. (and this just brings us to 1948). Of course, that being fairly difficult and requiring both time and a certain amount of smartyousity, much easier, and more satisfying, is simply engaging in the kind of empty posturing which really demonstrates nothing more impressive than an ability to pick causes like you pick fashion accessories. What’s in fashion this year? Guatemalan sweater? Tibetan hat? Orange stars? Blue diamonds? Right now, of course, the must have adornment is a kaffiyeh, and at least some of the good folks at the Park Slope Coop in Brooklyn wouldn’t be caught dead without theirs. In fact, they care so much about justice in the Middle East, that they are taking the bold step of trying to ban Israeli products from the shelves of their fine establishment.

Now, Jewdar is nothing if not fair and balanced, and we hesitate to sensationalize (unless, of course, there’s a Jewish celebrity involved), so we will note that at this point, it’s only a proposal. But the whole thing does raise an interesting question for us. Presumably, the Israeli products in question are of a Middle Eastern nature. Equally presumably, the coop will still want to sell the humus and falafel and zaatar and whatnot that they will be removing. So where will they find the replacements? Syria? Lebanon? Egypt? And that’s presuming those countries aren’t already represented on the market’s shelves. Any Jewdar readers out there live in Park Slope and want to take stock of which dictatorships’ ethnic cuisine are currently available for Park Slope progressives to partake in?

We hope that the coop will take the advice of that other Brooklyn institution, diminutive anti-Semite Spike Lee, and do the right thing. And if they don’t, our advice to them is to engage in the behavior suggested by the title of this post (hint: drop one "o")

What do you think?

About The Author


The Tel Aviv-born, Milwaukee-bred Jewdar has a bachelors' from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters from NYU, and an Honorable Discharge from the US Army, where he spent two years as an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division. He's the co-author of "The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies", the Humor Editor of Heeb Magazine, and a watcher of TV. Smarter than most funny people, funnier than most smart people, he lives on the Lower East Side with his wife and two sons.

5 Responses

  1. bergholt

    hang on, why shouldn’t they stock products from syria or lebanon or egypt? this protest isn’t stated as being against them. i don’t quite understand your argument here.

  2. jewdar

    The argument is that when it comes to the Middle East, self-professed supporters of human rights often seem unable to see any wrongs other than those committed by Israel, and that in a world full of often fairly brutal dictatorships, religious intolerance

  3. Anonymous

    Well, there’s one place down on 5th that makes killer hummus. Unfortunately a sandwich containing a mere tablespoon costs the same as an economy-sized tub at ye olde supermarket. I guess I’ll just have to continue subsisting on Bergen Bagels.

  4. Charlene

    Hi there, I’m one of the (relatively few) paid staff people at the Coop, and just wanted to make a clarification: because we’re a member-run Coop, and we have a well-defined process for even getting items onto the agenda for our monthly meetings (which


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