Monday, June 14, 2010

Boycott Gaining Steam

After the recent flotilla fiasco the boycott movement in making significant gains.

But not in the way you might think. Rather Israeli's are boycotting Turkey! Turkey was a prime Israeli vacation spot. Israeli tour operators have cancelled $500,000 worth of room bookings in the past two weeks. Several Israeli coffee houses have stopped serving Turkish coffee (which doesn't really come from Turkey at all!) A campaign has started to have Israeli food conglomerate Elite re-brand its popular "Cafe Turki." And now two large Israeli supermarkets have announced they will stop importing Turkish goods. According to Haaretz:
A number of local supermarket chains are taking a political stand: They have decided to boycott products manufactured in Turkey.

The chains announced that they will stop working with Turkish suppliers. Among the firms involved is Blue Square, which operates the Mega, Mega in the City and Mega Bul stores, and imports flour and pasta from Turkey, through its own private label. ...

"The Mega chain is heeding the voice of the public and has decided to stop importing pasta and flour products under its own label, which are produced in Turkey, and will seek alternative sources for its products," Blue Square announced yesterday.

Rami Levy, owner of the eponymous chain of supermarkets, also decided to cut off ties: "For reasons of ideology and conscience, it would be unacceptable for us to do nothing when the Turkish people behave this way. This is the minimum that we can do."

Levy says that under a private label he imports pasta, paper plates and ketchup from Turkey, but, "We can easily import disposable dishes from China, pasta from Italy - and we will find somewhere from which to import ketchup, too."
What amazes me is that after Israeli soldiers killed 9 Turkish citizens in the process of blocking entry of the Gaza relief ships (which by now we know for certain contained no weapons or war material) and continuing its universally condemned overly-tight blockade of Gaza, many Israelis feel that it is they who are the victimized party!

Poor us. How dare the Turks embarrass us by forcing us to kill them! Not a whisper of regret. And certainly no apology to the families of the dead or the Turks as a whole. On the contrary, it is we who must punish the Turks for the troubles they have caused us.

People who are always self righteous victims will never learn. I work with people like this in the homeless shelter I volunteer at. They have a chip on their shoulder, always feel abused and therefore behave badly. Of course, when they suffer the consequences, they blame it on the other guy or "the system", which re-enforces their feelings of victim-hood, which just re-enforces their pattern of anti-social and dysfunctional behaviour. It is a positive feed back cycle - but it is only negative for those involved. In the end it is these dysfunctional homeless guys who pay the biggest price - not the society around them.

And just like the homeless guys, Israel has more to lose than Turkey from a rupture of economic relations. In 2009, Israel exported $1.5 billion to Turkey, while importing only $1 billion.


Anonymous Shmuel said...

And here I was thinking boycotts were illegal, immoral, racist, etc. Sorry, my mistake. That only applies to boycotts against Israel.

I'm off to have a cup of "freedom coffee" now.

1:58 am  

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