Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hiller's is Begging for It

A friend sent me the video below of an inspiring French BDS action and invited me to "Imagine this happening in A^2." I replied:
It looks like that action was organized by mostly Muslims and 2nd or 3rd generation descendants of immigrants to France. I can't imagine the same demographic group in Ann Arbor doing an action like this because they would apparently rather do nothing or collaborate with Zionists like the SAFE kids do, with the apparent approval of their elders. There's plenty of L'Oréal products on the shelves of local stores and there's a whole chain of stores in SE Michigan that openly brags about selling products from Israel but the leaders of the local Arab community and their protégés would rather kiss the ass of a baby-killer like Albright. So, I can't imagine it happening in A2, not now at least.
The chain of stores I had in mind is Hiller's Markets and upon further investigation I find grounds for hope. Below is an excerpt from a 1999 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article.
Jim Hiller was in a jovial mood on a recent Sunday morning.

"I've got a herd of picketers outside two of my stores," the 56-year-old Detroit grocery-store owner said.

The picketers were protesting Hiller's decision to feature Israeli products in his six-store chain. Rather than back down, Hiller seemed to take pleasure in digging in in what has become an increasingly public demonstration of his support for Israel.

Concerned about the economic price Israel had been paying since the start of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000, Hiller began stocking Israeli produce, cheeses and canned goods in his store.

"You cannot imagine a person who would be less likely than me to do this," Hiller said while protesters handed out leaflets to shoppers. Until a few years ago, his main connection to Israel was what he calls a "perfunctory" annual gift to a local charity that supported the Jewish state.

Now he sells some 1,000 Israeli products to his mostly non-Jewish customers, and he's a hero in the Jewish community.
Jim Hiller decided to stock Israeli goods as a result of the fallout to Israel because of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and protests sprang up outside two of his stores. That's inspiring news to me.

But the protests, apparently, didn't last even though Jim Hiller hasn't changed his evil ways. According to a 2009 article in Grocery Headquarters Magazine: "Operating in Detroit's middle-class and wealthy northern and western suburbs, the seven-unit Hiller's is the go-to destination for that perfect roast, farm fresh produce, international groceries from Great Britain, Israel, ..." The article also says:
Hiller's employs a team of buyers specializing in British, Japanese, Israeli/kosher, Middle Eastern and Russian foods. ...

The buyers help Hiller better serve customers. For instance, a customer recently sent Hiller an e-mail requesting that the store carry Osem flour from Israel. "We will respond to her either by getting the product in if we think it is useful, or we'll tell her we'll be happy to order her a case and sell it to her at a 10% discount," Hiller says.
So, there it is--Hiller's is begging for an action like the one in the French video below. Who will organize it?

Addendum: I should be clear about one thing: The burden should not be on Arab and Muslim people in this country to fight and lead the struggle against the US-backing of the Jewish apartheid state of Israel but one understandably looks to them because most of the non-Arab, non-Muslim population in this country is so deeply brainwashed and indifferent, if not openly complicit, in Israel's and the US Empire's crimes.

Addendum II: In response to my remarks, the same friend who sent me the video has forwarded a 2005 article to me that purports to explain why Arab and Muslim Americans are so pathetic when it comes to the question of Palestine. Although I would disagree with some of the analysis, I think the author's main point is well-taken and although the author does not say so it also speaks to why non-Arab, non-Muslim Americans are so pathetic when it comes to almost any social justice issue other than Palestine (on Arabs/Muslims/Palestine they are deeply Zionized). Here's an excerpt from "American Muslims Not Like Those of France" by Ali Moossavi:
One reason is the simple fact that Muslim youth in America aren't ghetto youth; they lead middle class lives with the means to fulfill their middle class dreams. As a Lebanese friend remarked to me during a Palestine solidarity march in Dearborn four years ago after I jokingly suggested that these Arab youths start rioting, "That'll never happen; this is a middle-class community."

This is, of course, the American dream and it's exactly why our parents and we moved here in the first place. As the saying goes, however, it's a mixed blessing.

While we can afford nice houses and cars and give our kids a future, it also blinds to the reality that we are people of color, with foreign ways and funny names that will always doom us to some form of discrimination. With every election, with more funds gathered and the occasional politician bothering to show up and say a few words, we delude ourselves into thinking, "Our time is coming soon. We'll alter Washington's pro-Israel bent and assume our rightful place in the American mainstream."

All we did was help put Bush in the White House in 2000 and wasted our time with Kerry in 2004. Not only are we nowhere nearer to this goal, but we also have suffered setbacks – the Patriot Act, Iraq invasion, covert regime change, etc.

We lack the financial clout of the Jewish lobby and we lack the voting numbers of the Christian Right. The same corporations that sell weapons to Israel and the dictatorships, control Congress, the Pentagon and the White House also control Hollywood and the media, which continue to portray us as terrorists and morons, influencing American social and political attitudes.

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With the middle-class shrinking even more thanks to the current recession - that unfortunate fact will also contribute to the ever-growing numbers of Americans who are beginning to see Israel for what it really is(a cash drain and a destroyer of the American mythos).

I've, in the past, been as pessimistic as your last two paragraphs imply. But the zionist achilles heel - pathological arrogance(which has been their undoing in the past)-has started to become increasingly apparent(think the Freeman take-down).

I believe zionism will become rightly associated with other notorious historical fascists - and then it will be over

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