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Millions of Arabs shun American products

6 May 2002,
Khalid Amayreh for IAP News


A growing number of Palestinian customers are shunning American products, especially soft drinks and cigarettes, in protest against American backing of Israel's unrestrained war of annihilation against the Palestinian people.

According to informed sources in the Palestinian ministry of trade, Palestinian consumption of American products has plummeted to less than 50% of what it was in the year 2000.

The sources said that the boycott seemed to have affected all sectors of basic consumer goods, including soft drinks, cigarettes, cosmetics and food products.

At the official level, Palestinian officials are reluctant to encourage the Palestinian public to boycott American goods, fearing unfavorable American reactions.

However, at street level, America is public enemy number one.

"I think that most Palestinians and myself are convinced that America is the real enemy of the Palestinian people. We must not forget that thousands of Palestinians have been killed and maimed by American helicopters and American bombs and thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished by American bulldozers," said Anwar Masri.

Masri, a businessman, supports wholeheartedly boycotting American products.

"We know that our efforts will not produce miracles in the foreseeable future, but is demeaning to our honor and dignity as individuals and as a nation to consume the products of those who slaughter our children."

And the message seems to have gotten through to the bulk of the Palestinian public, at least in the big towns.

According to business sources, the sale of American products in retail stores in the three largest Palestinian towns, Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah, has dwindled to half the normal rate.

"Many consumers feel that if you buy a bottle of Coca Cola you contribute inadvertently to the killing of a Palestinian child in Jenin and Gaza," said Rawhi Sayed Ahmed, a retail merchant in Hebron.

"Coca Cola has the color of Palestinian children's blood."

American soft drinks, such as the Coca Cola and the Pepsi Cola, which symbolize American cultural hegemony, have been hard-hit by a growing popular boycott campaign which is gaining momentum.

In the Hebron region, thousands of crates of American soft drinks have been returned to the mother company in Ramallah because of low demand.

"I wouldn't be telling the truth if I told we haven't been affected," said a senior manager at the Coca Cola company in Gaza.

"People here hate the American government, and Coca Cola is an American symbol."

Last week, the league of Palestinian Ulema or religious scholars issued a fatwa or religious edict prohibiting the consumption of American products which have local or foreign substitutes.

The edict echoed an earlier similar edict by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi, one of the most noted contemporary Muslim scholar, prohibiting the consumption of American products in the light of brazen American support of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians.

On Sunday, the Qatari al-Jazeera satellite television channel reported that the boycott of American products in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states was acquiring phenomenal proportions.

It was reported today that the Japanese multi-national Subaru-Fuji & Fuji Co. has removed Israel from its complimentary world map that it gives to their customers with purchases.

Analysts said it was an indication that Arab calls for a boycott of Israel may be bearing fruit. In response, many Israelis today called for a boycott of all Fuji products -- film, cameras, batteries etc.

Arabs and Muslims hope that a vigorous campaign to boycott American products will hurt the American economy and eventually force the Zionist-controlled American government to reconsider its wanton hostility to Arabs and Muslims.