Malaysians and their useless fight against Israel


Malaysians and their useless fight against Israel
By Zan Azlee

Ignorance always proves to be the downfall of a society and once again, it rears its ugly head in Malaysia. Malay-Muslims who have no understanding of how things work when it comes to the BDS Movement (boycott, disinvestment and sanctions), which was started in 2005.

The movement was initiated with the objective of targeting Israel and trying to get them to change their Zionist agenda. It was inspired by the boycott that was done against South Africa during the apartheid period. It worked in South Africa and the apartheid government crumbled.

So now, what a whole bunch of Malay-Muslims (comprising over 20 individuals and different groups and organisations) have done is to make claims online that McDonald’s in Malaysia was contributing to Israel and that all Malaysians need to boycott them.

What they didn’t understand is that McDonald’s in Malaysia is run by a company that has no ties with Israel or its government at all. The company, Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, actually has a Muslim Malaysian majority shareholder, and a multiracial and multireligious staff.

According to a McDonald’s spokesperson, their employees have also been facing harassment. Hence, the company has now made a police report to protect its employees from the harassment and also against the slanderous claims made by this group of ignorant Malaysians.

So, the real effect that the boycott has is that it will now be jeopardising the jobs and livelihood of fellow Malaysians who have nothing to do with Israel or with the decision that US President Donald Trump and his administration made to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Nice going!

National-level boycott

For a movement like the BDS movement to work, it takes much more than just individuals boycotting Israel or Zionist-linked corporations (if they are really linked to them in the first place). It needs more significant action that requires a whole world population, and it also has to be political.

Governments need to be involved, and the best example would be how the governments of Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands decided to cut financial ties with Israel. Their banks and investment funds blacklisted numerous Israeli banks due to “serious violations of individual rights in war or conflict”.

Danish bank Danske cut ties with Bank Hapoalim because the latter had provided financing for Israeli projects on settlements on Palestinian land. Dutch pension fund PGGM blacklisted five different Israeli banks. Norwegian state-owned sovereign wealth fund banned investments with a slew of Israeli companies.

As far as Malaysia is concerned, our government imposed a ban on all trade with Israel in 1974. But there is a high possibility that our country still trades with Israeli or Israeli-linked organisations by proxy. If one is to check official Israeli statistics, it might just show trade numbers between them and us.

So if Malaysians are really serious about making a difference, then be serious in the actions taken. Our government needs to take a bigger stand other than just getting people to gather in front of the US Embassy on a Friday afternoon.

Also, ordinary Malaysians need to be less ignorant and be more educated and aware. Don’t be fools who don’t understand how global politics work, and commit more harm rather than any good at all. It is just embarrassing what these people are doing right now.

Targettng our own

Boycotting McDonald’s in Malaysia isn’t going to affect Israel one bit. But hey, if you’re at it already, then how come no one in Malaysia is calling for a boycott of WhatsApp, Waze or Facebook? What is the meaning of a boycott if you just pick and choose according to your own convenience?

But look at what is happening now. Once Trump made his announcement, the whole world went berserk and showed how angry they were. After the weekend ended, everyone went back to their normal lives. Except for us Malaysians of course. We decided to boycott our own people.

But let’s make it clear that we are not against the Israeli people or the Jews. What we are against are the Israeli government and American foreign policy. It may seem like it is a daunting fight, but if everyone is aware and more informed, it might just be possible to win it.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

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