14-year-old Jana Abdullah entered a store in Bahrain with a tablet. In the midst of Israel’s attacks on Gaza, he lists Western brands on a tablet to identify and boycott. Jana and her 10-year-old brother Ali used to go to the nearby McDonald’s almost regularly for something to eat. But now they, like many in the Middle East, are boycotting its products. Because, they think, buying these products is helping Israel.
This information emerged in the AFP report on Monday. It is said that campaigns are being conducted to boycott brands like Starbucks, KFC and Carrefour on social media including TikTok. People of all ages, including children, are avoiding them in the Middle East. Jana told AFP they were starting a boycott of products from companies that support Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians. They don’t want their money to contribute to more attacks. As an alternative, they are looking at local brands.
Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. 1 thousand 400 Israelis were killed and more than 240 people were taken hostage. After that, Israel started massive attacks and massacres in Gaza. Water, food, electricity and fuel were cut off. Three weeks later, the first aid trucks entered Gaza. Schools, hospitals, ambulances, refugee camps – everywhere Israel continues to attack recklessly. About 10,000 Palestinians have been killed so far. Most of them are women and children.
This has fueled anti-Israel sentiment across the Middle East. There is widespread anger among the common people in Arab countries. People have also begun boycotting brands from Israel’s Western allies, particularly the United States. In this situation, there is a demand to break the relations of Arab countries with Israel. There are also massive demonstrations in support of Palestine in the major cities of these countries. Türkiye and Jordan have summoned Israeli ambassadors. Saudi Arabia has suspended talks on normalizing relations with Israel. Bahrain’s parliament has announced the suspension of trade relations.
The bandaged face of a child injured in an Israeli attack on Gaza has been placed on a giant billboard along a four-lane highway in Kuwait City. To those who still buy Western brands in the Middle East, the billboard asks: ‘Have you killed a Palestinian today?’ Kuwaiti rights activist Mishari al-Ibrahim said Western support for Israel’s attack on Gaza has strengthened the ‘call for boycott’ in Kuwait. This has given the impression to the people of Kuwait – that what the West chants or says about human rights, does not apply to them.
McDonald’s has become a prime target of boycotts. Last month, the Israeli branch of the US fast-food chain announced that it had given thousands of packets of food to Israeli soldiers for free. Controversy started in various countries including the Middle East. In this context, Kuwait’s McDonald’s (not related to the original brand) announced 160,000 relief aid to Gaza. They also expressed solidarity with the Palestinians on social media. McDonald’s in Qatar followed suit.
Several Western institutions have been closed in Qatar. The owners of these establishments expressed support for Israel online. American cafe Pura Vida Miami and French pastry company Maitri Choux closed in Qatar’s capital Doha in October.