So, I've been the recipient
over the last few weeks of numerous calls to boycott companies from Nestle to McDonald's to Carrefour
. I find the concept very interesting. I know in the Middle East that the boycott has been a long term way of voting with your feet. I respect that greatly. I also think that boycotting over the Gaza situation could be appropriate. But, there's still something I don't get...
Having read the information on Nestle's direct investment in and commitment to Israel, I understand boycotting them. Many people in the US have been boycotting Nestle for many years for its portrayal as it's infant formulas and milk as "better than mother's milk" in less developed countries. I can see many reasons Nestle might be a company you'd want to boycott. and, given its corporate politicism
given not only where it builds plants, but the lobbying of the Swiss government on behalf of Israel, okay. Boycott them, if you like.
What I find fairly befuddling are the arguments that one should boycott McDonald's on the strength that this publicly held company's FORMER CEO personally supported Israel. Hunh
? So, we're saying that it's not only appropriate and desirable to boycott
companies who support Israel but companies that used to be run by a person who supported Israel? This one fails to launch for me.
The argument is fundamentally the same for boycotting Starbuck's
. Their CEO is a Zionist. Yeah, and? The company doesn't support Israel. In fact, given that it has NO stores in Israel currently and is in 9 Middle Eastern countries
, it seems to me that the company
itself supports Arab economies far more than the Israeli economy. Am I missing something here? I tend to expect that what someone does with their money personally is just that, personal. But maybe I am missing something. I figure the folks who have jobs at Starbucks here in Amman and the partners who own the license for the region in Kuwait are going to hurt far more than the Zionist CEO... But, that's just me.
Somehow the fervor people are showing to this boycott idea is a bit unsettling to me. Not that they vote with their dollars, that's a great idea. What I find worrisome is that people seem to get a list and start spreading the need to boycott the company. No research is necessary. When the boycott of Danish products began, many non-Danish products got caught up in it because they were originally Danish or sounded
European. Is that the right way to boycott? Harming those who have done no wrong? I'm just not sure.
Personally, I hate Carrefour
(see previous posts on this topic), but when I saw them appear on the list, I wanted to understand why. It turns out that they buy bras from an Israeli company
. This company has the majority of the market share. So, rather than suggesting that people put pressure on Carrefour
to identify an alternative or withdraw those
products from their stores, the list says boycott them today... Is that the best idea?
I guess my bottom line question is, what is the purpose of the boycott and will it accomplish your goals? Because putting local families out of work and decreasing their ability to earn a wage seems counterintuitive
to me. I think boycotting Israeli produce is excellent as it hits the people who feel it the most. But, make sure that the broccoli you are boycotting
isn't grown in the Dead Sea farms on our side of the border. Otherwise, again we're only hurting ourselves if we punish our fellow countrymen over misunderstanding and rumor.