| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Boycott campaigns over Gaza war hit Western brands in some Arab countries

An employee wiped tables in an empty McDonald’s on a recent evening in Cairo. In the Egyptian capital, other Western fast-food franchises seemed to be closing their doors.

Since the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel on October 7, all have been impacted by a grassroots boycott campaign that is primarily spontaneous and opposes Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt and Jordan are seeing the effects of the drive for Western brands, and there are indications that Kuwait and Morocco are following suit. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have only slightly benefited from the uneven participation.

Some of companies the campaign is directed at are perceived to have taken pro-Israeli stances, and some are alleged to have financial ties to Israel or investments there.

As the campaign has started to spread, boycott calls circulated on social media have expanded to list dozens of companies and products, prompting shoppers to shift to local alternatives.

In Egypt, where there is little chance of people taking to the streets because of security restrictions, some see the boycott as the best or only way to make their voices heard.

  • Reuters