FREE Subscription to our
just enter your email address
View Previous Issues



Boycott calls gathering momentum in Kingdom

By Omar Al-Zobaidy,
Arab News Staff
August 19, 2002


JEDDAH— Calls for boycotting US products in the Kingdom and elsewhere in the Middle East are growing as many Muslims believe that it is an effective weapon to change America’s pro-Israeli policies.

"We should not ignore the calls for boycott of US products. It has proved effective," Ihsan Bouhaleega, a Shoura member and an economic analyst, told Arab News.

He believed that the boycott movement in the long run would force the US government to change its policies, despite the strength of its economy.

"It may not be affected in the short run even if all Arab and Islamic countries decide to boycott American products, because it’s a strong economy," he pointed out.

But another Saudi economist refuted Bouhaleega’s claim and said the boycott will never affect the United States. "The boycott of US products is still nominal and is to express people’s anger. It will not have any impact on a major economy like the US," he said.

Opponents of the movement said the boycott would only affect the Saudi economy and businessmen. "Even the Palestinians in the occupied territories are not boycotting American products," they pointed out. "It will harm Saudi and foreign investors," said Osama Kurdi, secretary-general of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He called upon Arabs to adopt positive steps to change US policies.

The campaign had hurt business at fast food franchises, sales of soft drinks, and a wide range of consumer goods, including US-made vehicles.

An operations manager at a fast-food chain in Riyadh said many of the US chains were facing difficult times after their sales dropped by more than 40 percent.

"Many businessmen have started ordering products made in European countries, Asia or the Middle East to avoid losses because of the anti-US boycott.