I respect your right to boycott companies you believe to be supporting Illegal Occupation. But some consistency please.
The other day I was asked to forgo a delicious serving of top quality ice cream on a day out because it was manufactured by a local subsidiary of a massive Anglo-Dutch multinational, which up until two years ago had another local subsidiary operating in Illegal Settlements in Occupied Territory.
Bowing to international pressure from the boycott movement, that multinational has now closed its subsidiary’s plant in Occupied Territory and ceased operations there. So congratulations, problem solved: a success story for the movement.
Of course that outcome makes no difference to the army of activists ready to pounce on every ill-considered purchase, suspect barcode or teatime treat. I still don’t get to eat my ice cream, because though the parent company of this local subsidiary has ceased operations deemed illegal, it nevertheless continues to invest in a state which is engaged in an Illegal Occupation.
And this is where I start to get agitated by the inconsistencies of the activists. Believe me, I’m not just bitter at being deprived my sugar and fat fix for that day. I’m really not that big an ice cream junky. It’s the selectiveness at play.
Why am I asked to forgo a fruity ice cream worth a few pennies, but activists are willing to make an exception to principles in order to get their hands on Apple’s new iPhone 6, worth several hundred pounds? Indeed, isn’t it at all problematic that there’s a clever iPhone App for the boycott movement, given that Apple is such a big investor in the state?
Of course it’s not just Apple: Intel, Microsoft, Google, HP, Motorola, Qualcomm, Broadcom, HP, Cisco Systems, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, SanDisk, VMware, IBM and many more tech companies we rely on daily are all big investors in the state.
The technologies we rely on daily are the elephant in the room. It’s easy to tell people to buy different jam or eat a different cheese, to avoid this detergent or that brand of carbonated sugary water. But who’s willing to jettison Android, iOS or Windows in favour of some technological homebrew, untainted by the unparalleled Research and Development of an advanced colonial state? Very few.
The other day we abandoned our quest for oh-so-tasty ice cream in that breezy garden on a hill. Instead we sat in a hot car outside a supermarket on a busy road in the city centre and ate a poor substitute on lolly sticks. Clearly even that was a luxury given that the victims of the Occupying State mostly live in abject poverty, affected constantly by water shortages, discrimination and extreme brutality on a daily basis.
But I must confess that I was not a willing participant in that act of boycott: I was a participant in hypocrisy, looking up details on the alleged sins of the ice cream company via a Google search on an Android smartphone with a Qualcomm chip. It was gesture politics at its worst.