Boycott of Israeli products in Malaysia-Indonesia

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 4:14 am

Boycotts of Israeli products are in full swing in Southeast Asia during the holy month of Ramadan. Malaysia and Indonesia, the two largest Muslim countries in the region, are joining the list of boycotting Israeli products by the day.

Malaysian customs have arrested a man for allegedly selling Israeli dates in their local market, the South China Morning Post and Nikkei Asia reported in their respective reports. Indonesian authorities, on the other hand, have ordered the public to stop importing Israeli products.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza so far. Muslims around the world have been boycotting Israeli products and companies daily for a month in protest of such brutal attacks.

In Malaysia, the boycott was implemented as a result of social media campaigns. This has reduced the sales of all companies in the country that have ties to Israel. Domino’s, the Malaysian branch of Starbucks is making various appeals to attract customers every day. Meanwhile, McDonald’s again took legal action against Malaysia for compensation that day.

Meanwhile, Muslim media mogul Al Jazeera says Indonesian Kelana has been boycotting the fast food chain since October after McDonald’s announced on social media that it had donated thousands of free packets of food to the Israeli army amid the Gaza war.

Kelana also says it’s not so much a direct boycott, but a feeling of deep resentment toward Israel.

I used to have a McDonald’s sticker on my car that gave me a discount when I used the drive-thru, but I tore it off when the war started, he said angrily. If I could go to Gaza to help fight the Israeli forces, I would. Muslims are being killed by Israelis every day. Since I can’t go there in person, the next best thing is to show my support by not using products associated with Israel.

Nikkei Asia says calls across Southeast Asia to boycott products perceived to be linked to Israel are having a major impact on major brands. In February, McDonald’s said the war was taking its toll as international sales rose just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, down sharply from 16.5 percent growth in the same period a year earlier.

The most obvious impact we’re seeing is in the Middle East and Muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, said McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczynski. As long as this conflict, this war continues, we do not seem to see any significant progress.

Other brands and products affected by the boycott in these countries include Unilever and coffee chain Starbucks. Unilever, which makes Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Knorr Stock Cubes, said in February that sales in Indonesia were down significantly in the fourth quarter of last year due to “geopolitical campaigns”.

McDonald’s franchisees in many Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, have expressed support for the Palestinians and pledged money to aid relief efforts in Gaza.

Unilever Indonesia said in November that it was “saddened and concerned” by the conflict and its products, which are manufactured, distributed and sold by people in Indonesia. Yet boycotts of their companies and products are having a huge impact on this war.

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