officials silent as
anti-U.S. boycott spreads
14 May 2002
ABU DHABI A national boycott against U.S. products is growing
in Saudi Arabia and spreading to other Gulf states.
Saudi activists said members of the royal family have pledged their
support for the boycott in protest of Washington's support for Israel.
The government in Riyad has not expressed an official position.
Activists said the boycott has resulted in a sharp drop in purchases
of U.S. imports as well as sales in restaurant chains that stem
from the United States, Middle East Newsline reported. The Saudi
government Al Watan daily said the boycott has so far led to a drop
of sales of up to 30 percent.
The boycott campaign has spread through messages on cellular phones
Clerics in mosques throughout the kingdom have also urged congregants
to boycott U.S. products.
"With each dollar you pay you kill a Palestinian," one
Saudi message said in reference to Israel's use of U.S.-made weaponry
in the war against the Palestinians.
The boycott began last month during the Israeli military offensive
in the West Bank. Young Saudis have been employed to pass out flyers
outside malls urging shoppers not buy U.S. products. The flyers
contained a list of U.S. products being sold in the kingdom.
The Saudi boycott has spread to other Gulf Cooperation Council
states. Journalists from the United Arab Emirates have launched
a boycott of U.S. goods and services. The journalists plan to hold
a conference on Monday in Abu Dhabi to discuss the issue.