Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Very Own Urban Legend

I had a chance this week to watch an urban legend grow first-hand.

I'm a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, and my job (everyone at PSFC has to work) is helping to chair the monthly General Meeting that sets the rules. At January's meeting, a member asked about what Israeli products we sold. Almost in passing, she said she thought we should boycott Israeli products (all four of them). She was politely told that to make such a proposition, she needed to submit it to the agenda committee.

And that was that. We thought.

Then came a story in the Jewish Daily Forward saying the coop was considering a boycott of Israeli products. On New York Magazine's Daily Grub blog, that became "Park Slope Coop Bans Israeli Food." Soon the blogosphere was alight from here to Jerusalem and back. "We are going to protest these leftard dhimmis," said one blogger, adding indignantly - " in Brooklyn of all places. This is inexcusable."

As the February GM approached, the staff was nervous enough to mull police protection. So was the rabbi of the temple that hosts our GMs. It was starting to look like there might be an ugly scene.

It all got so tense that last night, walking to the GM half an hour late, I half expected to hear sirens and see flashing lights. But alas, no such excitement (although I was later told that a police van was circling the block - just in case). All I found was an incredibly crowded meeting that had long since disposed of what was, in fact, a complete non-issue. As anyone who had looked at the February agenda knew, there was no such proposal.

And now I know how urban legends are born. Like a game of telephone.

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