Growing calls for Palestinian solidarity fuel regional boycotts

(Photo: Twitter/X)
AMMAN – Boycott calls have gained significant momentum across the Arab world since October 7, 2023, with the death toll now surpassing 10,000, as reported by the Gaza Ministry of Health. People in the region are actively seeking alternatives to international companies listed on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.اضافة اعلان

The BDS movement's mission is to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and exert pressure on Israel to adhere to international law. Among the listed companies are McDonald's, Burger King, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and WIX, which are grassroots organic boycott targets. These grassroots campaigns aim to boycott these companies due to their involvement in or support for Israel, its branches, or franchises that have provided generous in-kind donations to the Israeli military.

On October 20, an Instagram post featured videos of a woman expressing concerns about the blue and white packaging in a fast-food order, which she believed indicated a new political stance in favor of Israel. Meanwhile, there were claims that the Israeli Occupation Army received free McDonald's. However, fact-checking revealed that the blue-and-white packaging was used before October 7.

McDonald’s branches in several Arab countries are disassociating themselves from the actions of Israel
McDonald's branches in several Arab countries released a statement on behalf of "McDonald's Global," disassociating themselves from the actions of the Israeli agency. They emphasized that they neither fund nor support any parties involved in the conflict.

McDonald's Kuwait, operating as a separate franchise, announced via social media a donation of "50,000 Kuwaiti Dinars (over 160,000 dollars) for our people in Gaza," expressing solidarity with Palestine. McDonald's Qatar also donated one million Qatari Riyals (about 275,000 dollars) to contribute to the relief efforts for Gaza residents, Al Mamlaka TV reported.

The boycott campaign is coupled with calls for Arab countries to sever their ties with IsraelIn response to Israeli airstrikes, the boycott campaign is coupled with calls for Arab countries to sever their ties with Israel. Jordan and Turkey recalled their ambassadors to Tel Aviv, while Saudi Arabia suspended normalization negotiations. South Africa summoned its diplomats for consultations. In Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel in 2020, the parliament announced "the suspension" of economic ties with Israel, although the government did not confirm this.

Tech-savvy youth are actively promoting boycotts through specialized websites and smartphone apps that identify products to avoid. An add-on for the "Google Chrome" browser, known as "Palestine Pact," conceals online ads for products marked for boycott.

Traditional methods are also employed, with Kuwait featuring giant billboards on a four-lane highway displaying images of bloodied children alongside a striking logo that questions, "Have you killed a Palestinian today?" alongside the hashtag #Boycott, aimed at encouraging consumers to join the boycott campaign.

In Qatar, Western companies faced closures after their management published content supporting Israel on social networks. The American café "Pura Vida Miami" and the French pastry store "Maitre Choux" closed their doors in Doha last month.

Some companies are having a comeback
In Egypt, the Egyptian Beverage Company "Spira Spats," which was previously less popular, saw a significant increase in demand as an alternative to the well-known "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola." The company drew attention due to its Israel branch providing thousands of free meals to the Israeli army last month, causing outrage in the Arab world.

The General Union of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce cautioned that boycott campaigns could significantly impact the Egyptian economy. While these campaigns may not affect the main companies, as local branches operate as franchises, they will impact Egyptian investors and workers.

Amid these developments, jokes and sarcastic comments have become prevalent. A user commented on a local juice product, saying, "This boycott made us discover products we never wanted to know." In Jordan, social media posts call for boycotting brands accused of supporting Israel. Some people have shared that this is the least they can do for Gaza.

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