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Saudi officials silent as
anti-U.S. boycott spreads

World Tribune
14 May 2002


ABU DHABI — A national boycott against U.S. products is growing in Saudi Arabia and spreading to other Gulf states.

Saudi activists said members of the royal family have pledged their support for the boycott in protest of Washington's support for Israel. The government in Riyad has not expressed an official position.

Activists said the boycott has resulted in a sharp drop in purchases of U.S. imports as well as sales in restaurant chains that stem from the United States, Middle East Newsline reported. The Saudi government Al Watan daily said the boycott has so far led to a drop of sales of up to 30 percent.

The boycott campaign has spread through messages on cellular phones and E-mails.

Clerics in mosques throughout the kingdom have also urged congregants to boycott U.S. products.

"With each dollar you pay you kill a Palestinian," one Saudi message said in reference to Israel's use of U.S.-made weaponry in the war against the Palestinians.

The boycott began last month during the Israeli military offensive in the West Bank. Young Saudis have been employed to pass out flyers outside malls urging shoppers not buy U.S. products. The flyers contained a list of U.S. products being sold in the kingdom.

The Saudi boycott has spread to other Gulf Cooperation Council states. Journalists from the United Arab Emirates have launched a boycott of U.S. goods and services. The journalists plan to hold a conference on Monday in Abu Dhabi to discuss the issue.