BOYCOTT ISRAEL Netizens come out against pro-Israeli companies

KUALA LUMPUR: This FridaFRIDAY has been dubbed “No McDonald’s Day” by Netizens as part of a campaign against large corporations alleged to have channelled funds to Israel.

Supporters of Palestine have taken to social media platforms, including Twitter and WhatsApp, to call for a 24-hour boycott of the fast-food chain to pressure Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, which have killed almost 2,000 people since last month.

A campaign image online also called for the boycott to continue beyond Friday until there was “no more Zionist regime in Palestine”.

Twitter user @Dr_aniszaid said: “please laa why (do) so many (people) (eat at) mcd?! Please have a... sense of humanity. boycott McD Israel!”

Another user, Amy Syahirah (@amysyahirah93), called for the boycott of other Israel-linked products, tweeting: “We can do it! From now on, let’s boycott Israel’s products such as Starbucks, McD, Coca-cola etc. We can.”

Meanwhile, McDonald’s Malaysia has denied online rumours that it was planning to distribute free burgers and drinks in selected mosques nationwide on the same day.

“We would like to clarify that the notices on free McDonald’s food posted on Facebook were not issued by McDonald’s, and we are unable to honour it. It is a hoax produced by an irresponsible party,” the company said on its official Facebook page.

The rumours were viewed by many supporters of Palestine as a desperate attempt by McDonald’s to counter the boycott.

However, the boycott call has received a mixed response from academics, who said such an action must be consistent to be effective.

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Human Development Centre head, Dr Mohd Akbal Abdullah, said consumers should make sure that the boycott was not seasonal if they wanted lasting change.

“I support their move to call for a boycott, but I doubt its effectiveness.

“There have been calls for boycotts for years. They have never lasted long.”

He said Israel had created systems that affected most people, either directly or indirectly.

“Facebook is an Israeli product, so Muslims have created their own social networking site, called Ummaland.

“Ummaland, however, is dependent on the Google platform and Google is owned by Jews.

“It is not easy to get out of the system that they have created.”

Economist Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping echoed Akbal’s sentiments, saying Malaysians were selective when it came to boycotting Israeli products.

“If they want to boycott Israel, they should also boycott everyone else associated with it.

“Since the United States is Israel’s biggest supporter, they should be boycotting the US as well.”

He said a full boycott of US products was not possible, given the potential impact on Malaysia and the global economy.

More than 1,900 people, mostly civilians and children, have been killed since Israel began its offensive in the Gaza Strip on July 8.