Four months into the boycott in Jordan. Is it working?

Jordanian experts and employees weigh in

Visualize a Middle Eastern individual sitting in a fast food restaurant with more people around, in a highly detailed, hyper-realistic style. The scen
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AMMAN – While the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement has been around for years, it took a rise after October 7. Since Israel’s war on Gaza, people worldwide have denounced the occupation in more than one way, which includes boycotting. From big-chain restaurants that have directly or indirectly supported the occupation, to the boycott of its Western accomplices, it is a phenomenon that has not only sparked a local response but has also made many looks to alternatives, Jordan is not the exception. اضافة اعلان

The Kingdom has been deemed as one of the strongest countries supporting BDS and once bustling big-chain restaurants with lines that could nearly be out the door, many locals are continuing to look for alternatives, and the question remains, how long will the boycott remain?

In a quest to look to the future of boycotts, Jordan News conducted several interviews with economic experts and former employees to get their take.

Nidal Malo Al-Ein, co-chairman of 100 Jordan Ltd. Co told Jordan News “Despite my initial warning about the impact of boycotting on the national economy, it should be a positive action to avoid negative effects on individuals, their jobs, and livelihoods. The impact of the boycott is evident in the local market but is minimal in global markets, where Arab markets constitute only a small percentage.”

However, he added that the boycott can also lead to some national competition that can exploit the situation to raise its profile. While Al-Ein mentioned the Kingdom’s economy, globally, some key players are sharing that they are losing sales.

He emphasized that the crucial question in play is who is managing the boycott, and if it will be nationally endorsed, which if it is, can then lead to a different ball game.

A potent tool
Meanwhile, Economist Hussam Ayyash told Jordan News “The economic boycott serves as a potent tool, with its impact significantly affecting local investors, specific companies, national institutions, Jordanian workers, and the overall national economy.”

In his recommendation, the boycott’s duration should be limited to effectively convey its message that viable local alternatives are available.

He added “The importance of a clear message in economic boycotts, is that it should not adversely impact local investors. He clarifies that the boycott's objective is to exert economic influence on the entities being boycotted, representing individual decisions. Prolonged boycotts may result in negative reactions impacting the national economy.”

However, employees on the ground are dealing with an alternative perspective. Maram Al-Helou, a 21-year-old university student, works at one of the well-known major restaurant branches. She told Jordan News that she works on an hourly basis, and when the boycott took place, job opportunities declined.

Employees can return when ‘things get back to normal’
Maram Al-Helou, a 21-year-old university student, works at one of the well-known major restaurant branches. Since she works on an hourly basis, she found that job opportunities since October 7 have declined, and unfortunately, some of her colleagues were laid off. She added that they were informed that they would be contacted when things “return to normal.”

She emphasized that many university students rely on these jobs to support themselves. When she visits the kitchen and sees the products used, she barely finds them to be local. However, she believes that most of them bear the names of well-known Jordanian companies, and she also thinks that the boycott will have an impact on these companies.

The local products may not meet the required quality standards
On the other hand, Leena Al-Manseer, a 39-year-old employee, told Jordan News expresses her support for the boycott but leans more towards supporting local products. She mentions the need to find alternatives that support local products. She notes that these companies should provide good alternatives that are close in quality to foreign goods. She also observes that sometimes local products may not be of excellent quality, but their prices are high.

Khalil Al-Zamil, the owner of a hypermarket, told Jordan News that he noticed Jordanian citizens' commitment to the boycott. However, he believes that people will return to buying these products after the war ends because local products do not meet the required quality standards, and their prices are high. He also mentions that companies have started to improve and develop alternative products like soft drinks.

Majdi Al Hashlamoun the head of the Jordanian Investors Association told Jordan News “We are all committed to supporting our people in the occupied territories through every available means. One effective way to express our stance is by boycotting any entity that provides support to the occupier, who perpetrates the most heinous forms of aggression against our people. This boycott not only symbolizes our position or diminishes support for the aggressor but also serves as a support for the local industry base and our national economy. This strengthens our internal front and enables us to continue supporting our brethren in Palestine.”

However, we must not overlook the potential negative effects of this boycott on the national economy, such as job losses. Therefore, the private sector should shoulder its responsibilities and collaborate to mitigate these effects by absorbing the workforce that may be adversely affected. In doing so, we affirm our duty to our people in the occupied land and strive to address economic challenges with caution and unity.

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