calls gathering momentum in Kingdom
By Omar Al-Zobaidy,
Arab News Staff
August 19, 2002
JEDDAH Calls for boycotting US products in the Kingdom and
elsewhere in the Middle East are growing as many Muslims believe
that it is an effective weapon to change Americas pro-Israeli
"We should not ignore the calls for boycott of US products.
It has proved effective," Ihsan Bouhaleega, a Shoura member
and an economic analyst, told Arab News.
He believed that the boycott movement in the long run would force
the US government to change its policies, despite the strength of
"It may not be affected in the short run even if all Arab
and Islamic countries decide to boycott American products, because
its a strong economy," he pointed out.
But another Saudi economist refuted Bouhaleegas claim and
said the boycott will never affect the United States. "The
boycott of US products is still nominal and is to express peoples
anger. It will not have any impact on a major economy like the US,"
Opponents of the movement said the boycott would only affect the
Saudi economy and businessmen. "Even the Palestinians in the
occupied territories are not boycotting American products,"
they pointed out. "It will harm Saudi and foreign investors,"
said Osama Kurdi, secretary-general of the Council of Saudi Chambers
of Commerce and Industry. He called upon Arabs to adopt positive
steps to change US policies.
The campaign had hurt business at fast food franchises, sales of
soft drinks, and a wide range of consumer goods, including US-made
An operations manager at a fast-food chain in Riyadh said many
of the US chains were facing difficult times after their sales dropped
by more than 40 percent.
"Many businessmen have started ordering products made in European
countries, Asia or the Middle East to avoid losses because of the