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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Hilarious boycott of Israeli goods by tiny cafe in Olympia (updated)

BDS has another victory!
We, The Flaming Eggplant Cafe, have decided to join the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli products. “These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
  • Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” (from the Palestinian Civil Society call for BDS)
This comes from the Olympia BDS webpage, but curiously enough not from the Flaming Eggplant webpage. In fact, there is nothing about it on their Facebook page or Twitter account as of this writing, either.

But it is probably true. The cafe also boycotts Nestle, Monsanto and Coca Cola.

Only one problem: According to their menu and their list of suppliers, they never sold Israeli products anyway. In fact, they deliberately choose products from local producers whenever they can. Their hummus is made in-house.

Saying that you, as a business, are banning products that you never sold is not exactly a sacrifice. [NEWSFLASH: This webpage will no longer use any Iranian components! Praise me!]

How about traditional Middle Eastern foods? Where does the Flaming Eggplant  get them from?

All the food that we buy from our distributors is organic. We work with some small producers on the west coast through our distributors including Jerusalem House, a company started by immigrants from the Middle East that makes our tahini...
The Jerusalem House is an Oregon health food distributor. It has a vague Middle East connection. Sounds like it is perfect for the Flaming Eggplant's ethical standards.

Except that a couple of weeks ago there was one small problem...
A local food company has recalled all varieties of its humus products over concerns about potential contamination.

Jerusalem House issued the recall on May 17, and products have been pulled from the shelves at area stores.

The products were sold at all Market of Choice locations in Oregon; Sundance Natural Foods, Friendly Street Market and Capella in Eugene; and at First Alternative Natural Foods C­o-o­p in Corvallis.

The products recalled include hummus, black bean hummus, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, salsa de jardin and tahini packaged under the Jerusalem House label and Original Tahini packaged under the Earth Gourmet Foods label.

An announcement from the state Agriculture Department said the products could contain a chemical contaminant. The recall notice does not identify the potential contaminant but said no illnesses have been reported in connection with the problem.

The announcement said the recall was initiated “in an abundance of caution.”

Oh, it gets better:
Roy Simon Oueis mugshot
Two days before the recall, on May 15, Eugene police served a search warrant at a west Eugene home police said served as a commercial food sales operation for Jerusalem House.

Roy Simon Oueis, 50, was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school, felon in possession of a weapon and first-degree theft.

Oueis’ business profile on the LinkedIn website lists him as manager of Jerusalem House.

Oueis remained in custody Sunday.

"Jerusalem House" drug den according to Google Maps
The report said the police investigation turned up potential violations of building and health codes at 2425 W. 18th Ave., the location where the search warrant was served. [And the official address of Jerusalem House - EoZ]

City code inspectors and state agriculture inspectors were called to investigate.

The recall notice did not indicate a link between the arrest and the recall. But production of Jerusalem House products has been suspended while the investigation continues.
Oueis, the owner of Jerusalem House, was arrested "after an investigation revealed that he routinely traded methamphetamine for stolen property, police said. "

The ethical owner of the ethical health food company was also arrested in 2007 for possession of a firearm and, again, methamphetamines.

This is where The Flaming Eggplant prefers to procure its food from.

But give Oueis a break - he was born in Lebanon, so that makes him ipso facto a moral man and his company an ethical business.

Will The Flaming Eggplant, arbiters of what is good and right, choose to boycott The Jerusalem House - assuming it ever resumes business operations? Will they be writing any articles for Olympia BDS about the evils of methamphetamines, selling drugs and possession of a weapon? Are they thinking that perhaps they wouldn't have lost their supplier of tahini if they had chosen an Israeli brand?

I love BDS, really I do.

UPDATE: Police also found rodent feces and a dog in the kitchen where this delicious tahini and hummous was being manufactured. (h/t Leo dam Hofshi)