Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Boycott; It Works!

My personal blogging is now at My My Neverland; do visit it.

Only the other evening Ah Chai was telling me how he is beginning to understand the Boycott issue. Rather reluctantly, he might add though. Still, the fact that he does now is good enough for me as we once had a heated argument on the matter. Well, at least, I did. Anyway, when I read the news below at Window Into Palestine, it sort of made my day; The Boycott, is working.

Israelis Are Beginning to See the Power of BDS

Shir Hever, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

A BDS Israel poster by the Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Against Israel.

In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, calling to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognizes the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, starting on 27 December 2008, which lasted for nearly a month, has given this movement a powerful reason to redouble its efforts. Dozens of BDS campaigns have gained momentum and publicity; dozens of new ones were launched during or immediately after Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip.

These campaigns range from calls to boycott goods from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to calls to stop all economic contacts with Israel altogether. They include protests at sporting events, two countries cutting diplomatic ties with Israel (Bolivia and Venezuela), and many demonstrations around the world, attended by hundreds of thousands of protestors.

The growing protest against the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip have begun to change something in the Israeli political discourse, and the first indication of this can already be seen in the Israeli economic media.

Although the Israeli economic media doesn't concern itself with the moral dimension of the attacks on Gaza, the economic dimension of recent events have created a rising level of concern. In order to demonstrate this trend, here are summaries of four articles that appeared in the Israeli The Marker magazine for economic news:

1. On 2 February, Guy Grimland warned about a growing phenomenon of boycott of Israeli high-tech companies, and several Israeli companies received letters from European and U.S. companies explaining that they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons.

2. In 3 February, Nehemia Strassler, one of Israel's most famous economic correspondents, attacked the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Eli Yishai, for calling on the Israeli military to "destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel." Strassler had nothing to say about the Palestinians living in these homes or about the loss of life, but he warned:

"[the minister] doesn't even understand how the operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.

Calls are heard in board meetings of economic corporations to boycott trade relations with Israel. So far deals were cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and the Gulf States, and visits by economic delegations were cancelled. It’s much easier now to switch providers while abandoning Israeli providers. Many company boards are required to take wide considerations into account with regards to the good of society and the environment, and they put political considerations in that slot as well.

Of course there is an economic cost to severing diplomatic ties. Qatar cut its trade relations with Israel, Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic relations. Mauritania recalled its ambassador and the relations with Turkey worsened considerably—and this bad ambience seeps into the business sector decisions. Here, just yesterday Dudi Ovshitz, who grows peppers for export, said that 'there is a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe.'"

3. On 6 February, Shuki Sadeh wrote about even more companies that have decided to boycott relations with Israel. A Turkish company demanded that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza before they can offer their services for it. Sadeh quoted Naomi Klein's recent call for boycott, the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott and Israeli organizations that support the boycott and provide information for the global BDS movement. Sadeh's article also had concerned quotes by Israeli businessmen who demanded government intervention to protect them from the growing boycott.

4. In 11 February, Ora Koren reported that the Israeli business sectors feel the effects of the attack on Gaza. She reported that Israeli businessmen in Turkey are hiding their names so that the local BDS organizations won't learn about their activities, and that the situation is even worse in the UK.

These four articles are a sign that there is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel, and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel, or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law, and ending the occupation


mOEha Aziz said...

salam ya akhi,


Kerp (Ph.D) said...

hey, it works!

being a sceptical me, i always doubted it. but not wanting to engage in any argument, i'll do the honourable thing by admitting i was (gladly) wrong all along.

cakapaje said...

W'salam ya Muha,

Benar, segala pujian bagi Allah s.w.t. Kita sebagai manusia, mampu merancang. Yang menentukan hanya Dia Yang Maha Esa.

cakapaje said...

Salam kerpie,

Yes, it does. In fact, it worked twice before but with different agendas. With South Africa, it was to dismantled the apartheid regime there; with Netherlands, and Denmark, it was for the insulting caricature of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

CelloTape said...

Me too!...i doubted about it...

but after reading this...

hey! i'm totally wrong...lahh

Syukur Alhamdulillah...


Anonymous said...

There are two angles to this

(1) the boycott seems to be working because fewer people seem to be going to McDonanld's

(2) the boycott seems to be working because it has succeeded in bringing the financial machinery supporting Zionist imperialism down on its knees.

I think Ah Chai was alluding only to the first one i.e. fewer people seem to be going to McDonalds.

I suppose if that how we want to measure success, then we have succeeded.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cello,

Takpa, at least now, you too can join in the boycott kan?

cakapaje said...

Salam MB,

Hmm...ever the skeptical one, aren't you? Does not matter if Ah Chai was merely referring to fewer people going to McD, as it is one of the big contributor to the illegal regime.

And, I don't think we are near succeeding, or that I mentioned it. What I did was, the boycott is working - having an effect! And even if it does not reach to the extent we hope for, we will still continue till it does. This, off course, bearing in mind that we mere mortals, can only strive and pray for success. The decision to it, lies in Allah s.w.t.

feldatoday said...

Boycott hendaklah berterusan

cakapaje said...

Salam feldatoday,

Benar tu, usaha boycott mesti berterusan.

Pada mulanya saya ingatkan anda adalah Encik Md Sha'ani Abdullah. Tapi setelah melawati blog anda, ternyata anda bukan. Bagaimanapun, terima kasih kerana mengunjungi.