US' campaign picking up in
8 May 2002
RIYADH, May 8: A grassroots campaign to boycott US products in
Saudi Arabia has already taken its toll on many local businesses,
with sales dropping drastically, executives and activists said on
The campaign, a protest against US support for Israel, is being
conducted from mosques, schools and universities, and through newspapers,
the Internet and mobile phone text messages urging consumers to
shun products originating from the United States.
The Saudi "boycott US" drive mirrors a similar campaign
which gathered momentum in several parts of the Arab world at the
peak of Israel's invasion of Palestinian lands that began on March
Imams at Saudi mosques have been delivering fiery sermons urging
worshippers to drop US consumer goods in favour of other products,
ruling that supporting the US economy amounts to killing Palestinians
and other Muslims under attack.
Young Saudi boys stand in front of major shopping malls to distribute
flyers and leaflets containing a long list of brand names that must
be boycotted "in support of our Palestinian brothers".
"I have never seen such an organized anti-US campaign in the
kingdom. It looks as if everyone is involved, from school students
to religious clerics," a Saudi businessman said. "Two
days ago, a carefully-prepared 20-page file was thrown into my house,
containing all the information about US products that we should
stop buying. They are organized," the businessman added.
Mobile phone owners have received millions of messages exhorting
them to join the boycott. "The least you can do is boycott
US products," reads one message. "Don't be a partner to
crime ... With each dollar you pay (to buy US goods) you kill a
Palestinian," says another in reference to US arms supplies
Saudis have also been bombarded by e-mails explaining which companies
they should boycott and giving a background on many of those firms
and their links with Israel.
The campaign is especially hurting business at fast food franchises,
sales of soft drinks, and a wide range of consumer goods, but vehicles