Practical Steps to Boycott Israel

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The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon advocates a complete boycott of Israeli products as well as foreign companies that are complicit with Israeli policy. (Photo: Archive)

By: Zeinab Merhi

Published Friday, March 1, 2013

The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon held its first press conference on 28 February 2013 at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut to answer questions related to their boycott platform.

Questions addressed issues like the purpose and effectiveness of the boycott; alternatives to boycotted entities; and the fate of those employed locally in companies that support Israel.

More specifically, some asked whether or not the boycott of performers who take part in events in Israel constitutes a snub to “culture and modernism,” as opponents of the boycott like to maintain. Others wondered about the viability of implementing the boycott in the “Information Age” since so many spheres seem open to all, even Israel.

The conference’s Q&A session tried to debunk such myths and refute claims about the inability of individuals to boycott the state of Israel.

When the governments of the Arab League member states enforced a systematic boycott of Israel and the businesses that supported it at the end of the 1940s, the Jewish state incurred losses of up to $96 billion until the early ‘90s. As a result of the Camp David Accords and other pacts with Israel, some Arab states withdrew their public boycotts, weakening the official pan-Arab stance against Israel.

What is the aim of the boycott today? Should we proceed to individually boycott everyone and everything that supports Israel?

The Campaign’s answer is simple: ideally, yes. The campaign further advises to adopt the following tactic: “Boycott wherever possible.” In difficult circumstances, create some sort of ranking scale for boycott targets of “worst to least bad.”

What are the determining criteria of “worst to least bad”? At the top of the list, according to the Campaign, are companies that have built facilities on territory that has been “cleansed” of Palestinians.

For instance, the Coca-Cola Company signed an agreement with the Israeli government in 2002 to establish a plant in Kiryat Gat, a settlement built on the ruins of two depopulated Palestinian villages, Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya.

Furthermore, the beverage company donates to the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, which promotes Jewish immigration to Palestine. It is worth noting that Coca-Cola was absent from Arab markets from 1968 to 1991 due to the Arab boycott.

For its part, the Swiss multinational company Nestlé built its most important facility in Sderot, a settlement built on the lands of Najd, a Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed in 1948.

Such boycott criteria applies to firms that acquire Israeli companies or stakes in them, a process that helps inject money into Israeli bank accounts. This is the case with firms like General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.

The boycott can be indeed effective, as is evident with Burger King, whose sales slumped by 50 percent in Saudi Arabia after the fast food chain opened an outlet in the illegal Israeli settlement Ma'ale Adumim.

Likewise, McDonald's sales plummeted in Muscat, Oman by 65 percent in January 2003, while campaigns against Starbucks’ support for Israel led the American coffee chain to shut down all of its stores in Israel in 2003, citing “operational challenges.”

What about the boycott of certain performers? This issue is often controversial as it draws accusations of obscurantism toward the Campaign.

Regardless, the Campaign maintains that performing in Israel contributes to whitewashing its crimes and promoting Israel as a “beacon” of culture.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

ifyou boycott Israel the world is back to stone age simple is that ..like it ornot Arabs should learn and copy the Israelis than we will live in a better World , just put our hatred a side and see what Israel accomplished in the past 65 years and what Arab countries accomplished the same time period...be truthful to yourself. the easy thing is to hate when u r not capable to compete....

You are very right, Arabs should see what Israel have accomplished in the last 65 years, Billions of aid from the US, billions in compensation from the Germans, professional victim statues while destroying everything and everyone around it.

Boycott is not only in the Arab countries, it's all around the world, and if boycott doesn't work, we just have to keep trying harder

Hey ; How's the weather in Tel Aviv by the way ?!

hahaha the best proof that BDS is effective is when you see the israeli shills panicking all over the forums :)

The moment you start to boycott Israeli products, you are back in stone age, or tothe Arabian send every major medicine is being developed in Israel every majorhhigh tech electronics being developed in Israel every or Most complicated software hasbeen developed in Israel so if u sick and u rather die or want to go back to the stone age you are right boycott Israel and live like most Arab states poor and 200 years backwards...

Boycott Zionism - its products, services, and supporters!

Well Anon, it really will not be that difficult to track down your trading name and add you to the boycott list - many thanks for the information.

@Battal - so you are saying that all hi-tech products are made in Israel? Nice try at dis-information, but I think not, personally I use a Linux OS - it's completely free.

Boycott all of the Muslim countries then a world would be a much better place.

Just to offer evidenceof the absurdity of BDS ... I market worldwide devices for listening assistance (hearing aids). The majority of components are manufactured in Israel and repackaged in either Turkey or Europe. I sell from the U.S. Occasionally, when shipping to Arab countries, I am asked the origin of the product to which I whole heartily lie. Whenever I am asked this , I try to add a "penalty" of 10% to the product cost which I then donate to the Jewish National Fund.

This attitutde is really non-sensical. If you really want to boycot everything that is related to Israel, then start by throwing away your phone, computer, and all other technologies that are associated with microsoft and other hi-tech giants as all their applications were made in Israel. Otherwise, your movement is a joke

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