Friday, August 1, 2008

Rainbow Grocery Declines Meeting with RBIG, Again

August 1, 2008
From: Rainbow Grocery Cooperative- Board of Directors
Re: Meeting request regarding boycott of Israeli Goods

We received your letter requesting a meeting to discuss a boycott of Israeli products dated May 28th. We would like to take the opportunity to clarify the Board of Directors role within the collective in general and in relation to our boycott policies specifically.

As you may be aware we are a worker-owned cooperative that does not operate in a traditional fashion. Decision making happens at Rainbow through the democratic efforts of our members rather than in a hierarchical “top-down” manner. The Board of Directors is not a body with the agency usually seen in a corporation. We are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the financial and legal aspects of our collective. Decision making on nearly all levels requires a collaborative effort by both the Board of Directors and the 230 worker-owners who comprise the Membership. Regardless of the desires of the Board of Directors, it is not a body that has the authority to institute any changes that would have a significant impact independently of our Membership.

Our boycott policies specifically limit the ability of any single body- including the Board of Directors, to institute any boycott or ban. The only responsibility that the Membership has charged the Board of Directors with is the publishing of a statement to the public related to any boycott decision. The Board of Directors cannot institute a boycott, supersede our boycott policies or begin the process of instituting a boycott without acquiring the necessary 20% of Membership to bring the issue to a vote. In short, it is only the Membership, and at that 2/3 of the entire Membership, that can affect a boycott for any reasons.

For these reasons, we respectfully decline your request to arrange a meeting with the Board of Directors of Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. The only manner in which an outside group such as yours can influence the cooperative to institute a boycott is to take the issue directly to the Membership via a worker-owner who will agree to be the sponsor of such an item and follow our boycott procedure. Any single worker can begin this process, but in the end it is only the 2/3 of Membership that can enact such a decision.

We hope that this helps clarify our boycott procedure generally and the Board of Directors’ responsibility specifically. If you have any other questions, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them.

Board of Directors- Rainbow Grocery Cooperative

People of Color Support Rainbow Grocery to Boycott Israeli Goods


Dear Rainbow Grocery

We are writing as shoppers at Rainbow Grocery who are people
of color. Some of us are in RBIG (Rainbow Boycott Israeli 
Goods) which as you know has been asking for a meeting with
the collective since mid 2006. We have taken up the boycott of 
Israeli goods because the issue of Zionism is first and foremost
a racial justice issue.

Some of us are fairly new to the Bay Area and some of us have
been Rainbow shoppers since the 1980’s. We shop at Rainbow 
because we are fighting for our lives in a racist (and sexist) 
system that relentlessly assaults our health and wellbeing. 
Rainbow is a very important resource for both knowledge of and 
access to healthy living food and other natural supports for 
disease prevention and cure. We also believe in and support 
the concept of collectives.

We also shop at Rainbow because we expect progressive 
organizations like Rainbow be responsive to community and 
to take a position and strong action for justice. As you know,
the Palestinians are being subjected by Israel to an apartheid
system where people with darker skins are humiliated and 
brutalized every day and treated in a savagely racist way. This 
is the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, when Israeli soldiers went 
from village to village massacring Palestinians young and old. 
Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing and seizure of lands from the
indigenous people are eerily reminiscent of the way Native 
Americans were treated in this country.

In the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, the role of the Bush
administration in deepening the suffering of Palestinian people, 
who are people of color, is presented in great and gory detail. 
“Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since 
corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay
bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National 
Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil 
war.” This article exposes how at the behest of the US 
government, Israel has unleashed an unimaginable level of 
violence aimed at expelling those Palestinians who can/will go,
and killing/maiming as many people as they dare of those who 

As individuals and organizations (including small businesses)
we must confront the question of what it means if we refuse to 
stand with people of color around the world and to protest our 
racist enemies’ closest friends abroad. As people of color we 
daily, must confront the question, what does it mean for our 
struggle against racism that Bush's closest ally is empowered
to do as they like with complete impunity by those of us who
consider ourselves to be anti-racist.

We are adding our voices to those calling immediately for a
meeting with Rainbow to discuss Rainbow’s boycotting Israeli


Nell Myhand 
Synthia Green
Shirley Yee
Faris Barhoum
Pablo Jim
Samia Shoman 
Jahahara Alkebulan Maat
Sharon Lungo
Chris Lymbertos
Lily Haskell
Adnan Hamwi
Sannah Rahim
Phil Hutchings
Jess Ghannam
Happy Hyder
Joyce Umamoto
Ayesha Gill
Chris Mazaleh
Nissor Ahmed
Ali Abong
Patricia Hemphill
Grace Shalhoub

RBIG renews request for meeting with Rainbow Grocery May 28, 2008

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Open Letter to Rainbow Workers:

RBIG is a group of workers and shoppers organized to
encourage Rainbow to boycott Israeli goods. After
Israel invaded Lebanon in July 2006, RBIG requested a
meeting with Rainbow about initiating such a policy.
We are renewing our request for a meeting for the
following reasons:

** The month of May is the 60th anniversary of the Nakba-
the zionist expulsion and ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians from their homeland.

** On April 24th the United Nations declared that Israel¹s
embargo of fuel has made it impossible to continue
its food aid program in Gaza, leaving 1-1/2 million
Palestinians without drinking water and food.

** RBIG now has over 700 Rainbow shoppers¹ signatures,
gathered at our weekly tabling, which petition the store
to boycott Israeli goods.

Enclosed is a letter, signed by workers and shoppers who are
people of color, expressing their strong objections to Israel¹s
racist policies and adding their voices to this request for a

Also enclosed are the five letters we sent Rainbow over the last
20 months stating our reasons for urging the store to consider
initiating such a boycott.

Nell Myhand (510)-485-6065
Jean Kuchinsky Pauline
Tom Brown