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Milwaukee based People’s Books Co-op boycotts Israel

Statement by Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition |
April 7, 2014
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition.

The Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition is celebrating a major victory this week as the People’s Books Cooperative bookstore joined a growing list of organizations that endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The People’s Books Co-op board voted in favor of “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," according to a statement released on their website (http://tinyurl.com/kcuubky).

People’s Books becomes the second cooperatively owned business in the United States to sign on to BDS, behind the Olympia, Washington Food Co-op whose endorsement won a decisive court battle after being challenged by pro-Israel Zionists.

People’s Books joins the likes of Nelson Mandela, Naomi Klein, Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder, Alice Walker, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Judith Butler, The American Studies Association, and many others who have signed on to the Palestinian call to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. The BDS movement was launched by Palestinian civil society in a 2005 call to the international community.

The People’s Books board responded to the call to BDS by conducting a survey of their membership which resulted in overwhelming support for the boycott proposal. Members of the Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition advocated for their proposal before the board of People’s Books, who previously did not carry any Israeli products. We applaud the members and board of People’s Books for their principled stance on social justice issues, and their strong stance in support of Palestinian human rights, especially while facing the economic difficulties inherent to operating a small local cooperative business.

The BDS movement is a growing, non-violent threat to Israel’s ability to continue its illegal occupation of Palestine which includes settlement construction, home demolitions, and illegal detention of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli state is scrambling to buy itself a better image abroad by throwing millions of dollars toward Israeli propaganda events in the US which deceptively present Israel as a liberal paradise with diverse culture and a healthy democracy. Israel's propaganda strategy places college students, social justice activists, academic and cultural workers, and progressive people on the front lines. But those very people are increasingly throwing their support behind the cause of Palestinian liberation.

The People’s Books Co-op stands as an example for all progressive people to follow as we work to build a better world that is free of war and apartheid, and based on the principles of social justice and cooperation.

In Solidarity,
The Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition

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