Gets Grilled in Africa Over Palestine
By Nizar Al-Aly
May 20 2002
RABAT, Morocco, May 20 (IPS) -- "They use our money to kill
our children in Palestine," reads an advertisement run by several
Moroccan dailies to rally support for a boycott of American products
-- including McDonald's -- in Morocco.
Morocco is on the northwest edge of the Afrikan continent.
The advertisement names a large number of United States brands,
from Marlboro to McDonald's, that Moroccans are being called upon
to boycott as a sign of rejection of U.S. backing of Israel in the
conflict against the Palestinians.
"We, as civil society, have the duty to mobilize citizens
for a cause that is ... central to us," says Hassan Serrat,
a reporter from the Renewal daily newspaper.
Officials from McDonald's Morocco -- which has 16 restaurants in
the country -- say the campaign will probably result in a huge loss
in profits for the food chain.
Analysts say the Moroccan government is not at ease with the anti-U.S.
campaign, although it does not directly intervene to put a halt
For Hassan Nraiss, a businessman from Rabat, said "the boycott
campaign is shortsighted ... The Palestinian cause can be better
served diplomatically," he told IPS.
The campaign seems to have a positive echo with ordinary consumers.
"There are many options for U.S. products. I personally check
the products before buying," said one consumer at a supermarket
in downtown Rabat.
"The ultimate goal of the boycott campaign is to make U.S.
companies put pressure on their government to change its policy
in the Middle East," said a member of the boycott coordination
The campaign echoes a mounting clamor in other Arab nations for
the boycott of U.S. commodities.