Israel-Hamas war: This is why you don’t have to boycott all the brands on the viral boycott list

File picture: Pexels

File picture: Pexels

Published Oct 23, 2023


As Israeli forces continue to bombard Palestine and neighbouring countries with attacks, many have taken to boycotting a number of companies in a bid to show support and stand in solidarity for Palestine.

Over the past two weeks, politicians and members of the public have weighed in on the matter. Speaking during a march to the Israeli embassy in Pretoria in solidarity with Palestine at the weekend, ANC deputy secretary general Nomvula Mokonyane urged South Africans to boycott imports from Israel in response to the siege of Gaza.

Mokonyane also called for the closure of the embassy.

“Down with the Israeli government, down. Down with the killing of people and the bombing of hospitals, down. The Israeli embassy must leave South Africa. The embassy must close, and the ambassador must go. Boycott Israeli products,” Mokonyane said.

Due to this call and the rise of boycotts, fast food chains, brands, and produce have come under fire for being allegedly affiliated with their Israeli counterpart branches.

Following a recent controversy involving McDonald’s Israel, fast food chain McDonald’s SA has released a statement last week, reiterating it is a strictly South African operation and not affiliated with Israel operations.

“McDonald's in South Africa is a local enterprise, with full ownership and operation overseen by local management. We are not affiliated with McDonald's operations in Israel, which is a locally owned Israeli enterprise,” said the company.

The company said McDonald's in Israel operates as a separate entity from McDonald's South Africa and makes its own business and communications decisions, independent of the business in South Africa.

A number of companies locally and worldwide have either kept mum about their stance or remain neutral.

What about the boycott list that has all those brands and products?

By now, you must have seen posts doing the rounds on a list of over 100 products to boycott that are allegedly linked to Israel.

The fact of the matter is that thousands of brands (possibly including your favourite) will have links to Israel in some shape or form.

“The global nature of today’s economy means that there are thousands of companies that have links to Israel and are complicit to various degrees in Israel’s violations of international law,” said Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS).

BDS added: “We call for divestment from all companies implicated in Israel's human rights violations, and we focus our boycott campaigns on a select few strategic targets.”

BDS noted that there is a lot of information online claiming that some large companies give money to Israel, some of which turn out to be false.

What companies are worth boycotting?

According to BDS, these are companies that the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is encouraging consumer boycotts of.

HP: Hewlett-Packard is believed to help run the biometric ID system that Israel uses to restrict Palestinian movement.

Siemens: Siemens is allegedly complicit in apartheid Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise through its planned construction of the EuroAsia Interconnector. This matters, as it will link Israel’s electricity grid with Europe’s, allowing illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land to benefit from the Israel-EU trade of electricity produced from fossil gas.

Puma: Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Israeli fruit and vegetables: Watch out for fruits, vegetables, and wines labelled "Produced in Israel,” as these actually come from stolen Palestinian land.

SodaStream: Soda Steam is actively complicit in Israel's policy of displacing the indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev).