The long-running conflict between Israel and Palestine took an even more violent turn recently as the two states practically went into a state of war with each other. With the recent escalation of conflict, the global response has been somewhat mixed. Most of the western countries including the European leaders are supporting Israel’s right to self-defense. Muslim countries and the coalition of OIC have been vocal about the atrocities carried out by Israel in the occupied lands of Gaza where Palestinian residents have been forcefully removed from their homes. In addition to that, there have been massive airstrikes carried out by Israel that have killed civilians in the hundreds to which Hamas also retaliated with airstrikes. As most of the developed countries turn a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinian people, there has been a global call to boycott Israeli products as a form of protest.
What is the impact of boycotting Israeli products?
Since its foundation in 1948 after the end of the British mandate and proclamation of the Jewish state, Israel set itself on a prolific development course. The initial years weren’t easy as it had to combat economic recession combined with refugee intake from Europe. However, the state took a keen interest in technological advancement as well as exporting locally produced goods and brands.
Their advancement in the tech field including computer hardware, software as well as spyware made them a key exporter of these goods in western countries like the USA, UK, Hong Kong, and China. With a huge volume of export of local as well as international brand products sourced in Israel, the net exports hold almost 29% of the GDP of Israel. Boycotting Israeli products lands a huge blow to the percentage share as well as the economy of Israel.
What are the Israeli products and brands?
Before we get into the details of products and brands you need to understand that some of these brands are not directly owned or operated by the state of Israel; neither are they owned by an Israeli corporation or owner. Rather they source the products or use Israeli Logistics to produce the commodities and sell them worldwide.
Though technically not an Israeli product, they do help the Israeli cause and contribute to the overall economic development of Israel. Procter and Gamble, the notable mother brand of products like Gillette, Pampers, Olay, and Oral-B have considerable ties with Israel. Pampers, one of their successful diaper range is sourced exclusively from Avgol, an Israeli company with factories in the occupied West Bank area. Intel also has plants in Tel-Aviv which manufactures a share of their global chipset supply.
Notable construction brands like Caterpillar supplies armored tanks to Israel which is an essential element of their field military strength. The retail and consumer sub-brand of Caterpillar, CAT also sources and holds a considerable investment in the state of Israel. Hewlett-Packard, commonly known as HP was one of the first western companies to establish a business hub in Israel back in 1994. To this day, HP holds a significant foreign investment in Israel and has been a key player in the tech revolution of the state.
Other notable brands like SodaStream, Puma, McDonald's, Motorola, and Volvo also share economic ties with Israel as well as sourcing their product through factories in the occupied area.
The technological advancements of Israel saw them take a strong position in the internet business scene as well. Popular websites like deviant art and website building tools like Wix are all based in Israel. One of the biggest freelancing platforms of the world Fiverr is also owned and operated from Israel with its headquarter in Tel-Aviv.
These are just a few notable international products that are used on a global scale in almost all the countries of the world. However, there are tens and thousands of Israeli products that are relatively less known but are an important contributing factor to the economy of Israel. You can check for the barcode of a product and if it starts with 729, it is designated to be a product from Israel.
Why is it challenging to boycott Israeli products?
The state of Israel has always pioneered innovation and development of critical and crucial products across a range of sectors. As we have mentioned before, the advancement of Israel in the field of technology has been immense. From crucial car navigation system like Waze to optical heart rate monitor that enables smartwatches to monitor heart rate, all of these technologies were developed in Israel.
Not just these, global social hubs like Facebook or popular search engines like Google and Bing all use components made in Israel to optimize their network and service. The proprietary company Mellanox has been a key supplier of these components.
Other innovations like the mobile camera to portable disk drives, all of these technological milestones trace back their origin to Israel. From a western point of view, with such deep-rooted ties to everyday life, it is almost impossible to boycott Israeli products.
How can you boycott products from Bangladesh?
Contrary to popular belief, some of the products that you might see making rounds on social media don’t share any ties with Israel and as a result, you have no reason to boycott them. Bangladesh is also the only country to not share any form of economic or diplomatic ties with Israel so our government doesn’t act as a benefactor in any way.
Though not directly available, some of the international brand products that we mentioned above are still available in the country with the products of P&G being the most widely available one. You can find an alternative to these products either sourced locally or from brands that don’t share any ties with Israel if you want to contribute to the cause.
The conflict of Israel and Palestine is long-standing and one that has caused a heavy toll on life and humanitarian crisis. Where the most form of protest is limited to condemnation of the atrocities alone, many have called for the boycott of the products to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and their cause. That is about as much that can be done from a civilian point of view unless the ongoing crisis is resolved once and for all.