‘Wave of Anti-West Boycotts Engulfs Middle East Amid Claims of Palestinian Fatality’

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14-year-old Jana Abdullah, shopping in a convenience store in Bahrain, carries a tablet to check a list of Western brands to avoid in light of Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. Jana and her 10-year-old brother, Ali, have joined many others in the Middle East in boycotting products they believe support Israel. This boycott movement, which has gained traction on social media platforms like TikTok, has led both children and parents to steer clear of major brands such as Starbucks, KFC, and Carrefour. Jana explains that they are boycotting these products in solidarity with the Palestinians and to ensure their money does not contribute to further conflict. The movement has grown since Hamas launched an offensive on Israel, resulting in a high number of casualties. Arab communities enraged by Israel’s attacks have turned against brands associated with Israel’s allies, including the United States. The boycott campaign incorporates various methods, such as browser extensions and dedicated websites, to help consumers identify and avoid products on the proscribed list. Traditional methods, like billboards, are also employed to raise awareness. McDonald’s, in particular, has become a primary target due to its Israel franchise’s announcement of providing free meals to the Israeli army. Responding to the backlash, separate entities of McDonald’s in Kuwait and Qatar have pledged donations to relief efforts in Gaza and emphasized their separation from the Israeli branches. The boycott has also affected other Western outlets in Qatar and Egypt, leading to closures and a shift in consumer preferences. While the boycott demonstrates solidarity with Palestinians, it may have significant economic implications for countries like Egypt. In Jordan, consumers are actively avoiding products associated with Israel and looking for alternatives, showing their support for Palestinians.

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