Wednesday, February 16, 2011


As discussed further in the post above, the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop has declined to join the boycott of Israeli goods touted by some very hateful, seemingly obsessed anti-Israel groups. Our family had a harrowing personal experience that I felt related to the Board's decision. Here it is:

Dear Board Members:

I am an owner.

I will not be at the meeting December 9th, but I wanted to write to commend you for not adopting the ill-conceived, hate-inspired boycott of Israeli products and to urge you to adopt a policy that permits each consumer to make his or her own choice regarding which products to purchase.

I cannot be at the meeting because I am in Jerusalem. Specifically, my wife and I have been at Hadassah Hospital, Israel’s premiere hospital, watching our daughter battle for her life. Last Saturday, we were in Sacramento when we received a call from our son telling us that our 22 year old healthy daughter Ruthie was in the ER with a lung infection. Within the course of three or four hours her condition deteriorated to the point that she was near death. She had been attacked by a super-aggressive, unknown bacteria. She was sedated and fully dependent on a ventilator. Over the phone I asked the doctor--pleaded--that they save her. The best he could do was "we will do our best." A nightmare I hope no parent ever experiences.

We got the first airplane we could and arrived in Israel Monday afternoon and headed straight to the hospital. We went directly to the ICU and found our daughter still on the ventilator, hooked up to what seemed like a dozen wires and hoses, bloated, but, thankfully, alive. She was doing better but not out of the woods. They still did not know why she had been so hit by this infection and whether it might return.

As I looked around the ICU, the family right across from us was a religious Jewish family. To the left of them was an Arab family, the women in traditional garb. Scurrying around, tending to our daughter and the others, were Arab Moslem and Christian, Jewish, black, religious, non-religious doctors and staff. No one cared one bit what the patients’ religions or ethnic groups were, and none of the families gave one wit regarding the religions or ethnic groups of these dedicated caregivers. The chief ICU nurse is an Arab man. He runs the show and makes order out of what looks like chaos.

That first night my wife and I slept in an alcove in the corridor outside the ICU, as our son and various friends had been doing every night. We used pull out couches lined up right next to each other. On one side of me was my wife. On the other side a young female soldier--younger than my daughter--in her khakis. Next to her a young Arab man in his early 20’s whose dad had had a heart attack and who was one bed over from my daughter in the ICU. No one gave any thought to who slept next to whom.

Our daughter is out of ICU and, thank God, is doing well, although she still has a long haul ahead of her. It is a very stubborn and dense infection. She is now in a wing. She shares a very small room--built for three or four--with four others: a secular Jewish woman in her 30’s, an older Arab woman, an older religious Jewish woman, and a woman who, judging by the blankets and some other hints, appears to be an Indian from Latin America. They and the rest of the patients in the wing are attended to by doctors, nurses, therapists, etc. who are Jewish, Arab, Moslem, Christian, religious, secular, black, blond, you name it. It doesn’t matter. It certainly doesn’t matter to me. These people saved my daughter’s life.
These people work together, share meals, kibbutz with each other, call each other at all hours of the night if there is a question about a patient.

This is what peace and co-existence look like in Jerusalem. This is as close to Apartheid as I am close to being the Pope. Is it all perfect? I am sure it is not. But it is the hope for a peaceful future where all people are respected and given the opportunity to live in peace and prosperity. It inspires hope. It is 100 percent contrary to the hatred, bitterness, and divisiveness represented by the BDS’ers. Hadassah Hospital encapsulates the values of the cooperative movement. The BDS’ers represent everything contrary to it.

I invite anyone to come to Jerusalem while we are here (until March 3.) My wife and I would be pleased to show you this extraordinary, diverse, wonderful place that saved our daughter’s life.
I commend you actions in support of tolerance, peace, and free-choice, and against hate and divisiveness.
Alan Edelstein

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