Friday, May 30, 2008

An appeal

I would genuinely like to hear from Arabs who have shopped at Marks and Spencers or who have family and friends that do so. Do you know that this company is one of the top names that appear in any boycott list of Israeli goods? If so, does it bother you that it is said to be one of the top supporters of the Zionist state? If family or friends do shop there, what views do they hold on things such as the occupation of Palestine or the relationship of Israel with other Arab countries? I look forward to hearing your thoughts as I am writing a short article on the attitudes of Arab shoppers with regards to Israeli products and their boycott...


Hisham said...

I don't know about Marks and Spencers since there are none here in France but I can tell you an anecdote that happened last Ramadan when I was queuing in front of a my local Halal butchery, run by a fellow Moroccan. As I was waiting in the line with fasting Muslims who were impatiently waiting for their turn as the dusk approaches, and non Muslims who were regulars of the shop or were attracted by the frenzy around it. as I was waiting, hearing my stomach begging for food, I noticed a box of dates packaged nicely with an inscription in a language that resembles Arabic but that wasn't Arabic. I looked more closely and I felt sudden and mounting stimulus. It was Hebrew. I was fasting that day, of course, and my nervous system was a bit slowed down. I thought: Hebrew means it's made by Jews or for Jews... That's Ok for me... but then why write it in Hebrew if it's supposed to be distributed in Europe for mostly Muslim peoples... Gosh! Israel... That might be made in Israel... What the F... uh! I mean what on earth is this damn box doing in this shop, being sold to us Muslims, in this particular month when we are supposed to celebrate our religion!
I couldn't help asking the shopkeeper, the butcher who's a friend of mine!
-did you realize that you're selling Israeli dates to your Muslim clients!

the man blushed before embarking in lengthy explanation... pretending that he knew nothing about it before turning the argument and saying that it isn't necessarily made in Israel since there was nothing indicating it explicitly.

I took one of the packages out of their containing box and I scanned it until I found the notice: "K'far Bilu".

I didn't know the place and I wasn't sure that it was indeed in Israel, but I pretended so. I pretended that the product was definitely Israeli.
Was it a lie? ... as soon as I returned home I checked the key words "K'far Bilu" .... and.... it was indeed in Israel.

The shopkeeper (Abdeltif is his name) kept the dates on his counter. I was deeply disgusted by this purely selfish and capitalist attitude but I have to admit I continued shopping in the same butchery and continue to do so. The only thing I do now is check Abellatif's products origins as often as I can...

Israel should be boycotted... definitely. I have no second thought about that. It's the least that we can do against the apartheid state. The only remaining colonial state on the face of this planet.

Thanks Wassim. I'm looking forward for your next post on the matter!

Anonymous said...


Ideologically speaking I think one should do all they can to boycott Israel, however living in a country such as the UK it is almost impossible.
I used to be very active for the Palestinian solidarity campaign in Exeter and as one of our events we were distributing flyers which specified which companys were Israeli or sponsored Israel (these were official flyers published by Friends of Al-Aqsa)anyway I had always boycotted things like Tesco and M&S but after having read that I found that pretty much all the main supermarkets are Israeli/ sponsors, that's to say Sainsburys, Waitrose, Somerfield...most beauty products are produced in Israel or fund Israel- Simple, Clearisil, Lynx, Estee Lauder, Lancombe, T-Zone...
Again most high street clothes shops are also implicated and electronic goods stores and products- heck even Windows sponsors them...and this is all what I can remember, I will try and find this flyer to send you.
Anyway in conclusion- it is almost impossible to boycott Israel unless you live in a ditch, naked and feed on wild berries and rabbits.
If you have any luck in finding anything which is Palestinian friendly then please let me know

Karin said...

It's difficult to escape Israeli-sponsored items ... I am talking here in the US!

My contribution, however meager, is never to buy Starbucks. I though a bit more than a year ago. I was en-route to New Orleans and had a lay-over of TWELVE HOURS at Kansas airport. The ONLY shop open after a very long night trying to close one eye was .. Starbucks and I was in dire need of a coffee to keep my eyes open.

It was the first ... and the last time I ever bought one and to be very honest, it was terrible and after a few sips I threw the rest away. I do check products such a Avocado or Oranges/ Grapefruit, figs ect. for their place of origine though ...

I am consequent with this one .. and try to be AS consequent with other produce/items as well.

poshlemon said...

Arima yes please I'd like to have that list.

I agree with you. Living here in the UK it is almost near to impossible to boycott Israel in the real meaning of things.

Something I make sure I do is look at the country of produce and make sure I don't buy anything that is made in Israel.

julius said...

It is likely that the computers you're using are also a problem: Intel Inside almost always means Israel Inside.

sasa said...
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sasa said...

Wassim, I completely agree with you. I see Arab tourists going into the massive M&S on Oxford Street and I want to scream at them!

I have had huge arguments with the Zionist campaigners who try to disrupt the monthly PSC protests. I agreed with him that killing civilians is wrong, and asked him to condemn the murder of Gazans - he said he was happy when any Palestinian died.

Anyway, I'm with you too Arima. I used to try to follow the Boycott Israeli Goods list, - but it just became too long and unwieldy. And where do you draw the line? A shop which has opened a store in Israel?

I boycott only two things: M&S (because of their massive finiancial support for Israel) and Starbucks (because of Howard Shultz's massive political support for Israel).

Maybe we should be doing the opposite - actively buying Palestinian-friendly products? anyone?

Blog reader said...


The list is too long, nearly every shop in town.

Lirun said...

ok let me help you..

anything with:

intel pentium chips

cell phone technology

digital voicemail

any company with integrated billing facilities

compact discs

and i could name more but i think you should see what you can do about these to start with.. using them would most certainly make you supporters of the israeli economy.. with royalties and license fees flowing to israel..

Jillian said...

hisham - Half the dates sold in Morocco are Israeli, if Tunisia's having a bad harvest.

Wassim - Do you have a list? I'd be interested in seeing a list, particularly of U.S. companies.

Between that and animal testing, I won't know where to shop anymore!