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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Boycott campaigns over Gaza war hit Western brands in some Arab countries

All have been hit by a boycott campaign over Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Midway through a recent evening in Cairo, a worker cleaned tables in an empty McDonald’s restaurant. Branches of other Western fast-food chains in the Egyptian capital also appeared deserted.

All have been hit by a boycott campaign over Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Western brands are feeling the impact in Egypt and Jordan, and there are signs the campaign is spreading in some other Arab countries including Kuwait and Morocco.

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Some of the companies the campaign is directed at are perceived to have taken pro-Israeli stances, and some are alleged to have financial ties to Israel or investments there.

As the campaign has started to spread, boycott calls circulated on social media have expanded to list dozens of companies and products, prompting shoppers to shift to local alternatives.

In Egypt, where there is little chance of people taking to the streets because of security restrictions, some see the boycott as the best or only way to make their voices heard.

“I feel that even if I know this will not have a massive impact on the war, then this is the least we can do as citizens of different nations so we don’t feel like our hands are covered in blood,” said 31-year-old Cairo resident Reham Hamed, who is boycotting US fast food chains and some cleaning products.

Read more: UK PM wanted to ‘just let people die’ – Ex-adviser

In Jordan, pro-boycott residents sometimes enter McDonald’s and Starbucks branches to encourage scarce customers to take their business elsewhere.

Videos have circulated of what appear to be Israeli troops washing clothes with well-known detergent brands which viewers are urged to boycott.

“No one is buying these products,” said Ahmad Al-Zaro, a cashier at a large supermarket in the capital Amman where customers were choosing local brands instead.

In Kuwait City, a tour of seven branches of Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC found them nearly empty. A worker at one Starbucks said other US brands had also been affected.