Will boycotters of Israeli-linked brands revert to typewriters?

MALAYSIANS have been very vocal in their support of Palestine in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The boycott strategy has had an effect with reports of certain fast-food outlets facing a severe downturn in business.

This boycott movement has also forced certain brands into pre-emptive measures in distancing themselves from Israel and its closest ally – the United States of America.

It has been pointed out that it is one thing to consume less fast food but it is quite another when the boycott involves brands, products or services that are daily essentials. This is especially pronounced in the realm of work.

Hence, a Reuters report will surely leave many a boycotter in a quandary. It states:

Israel’s government agreed to give Intel a US$3.2 bil grant for a new US$25 bil chip plant it plans to build in southern Israel, both sides said on Tuesday, in what is the largest investment ever by a company in Israel.

The news comes as Israel remains locked in a war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in the wake of the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel. It also is a big show of support by a major US company and a generous offer by Israel’s government at a time when Washington has increased pressure on Israel to take further steps to minimise civilian harm in Gaza.

The expansion plan for its Kiryat Gat site where it has an existing chip plant that is 42 km (26 miles) from Hamas-controlled Gaza is an “important part of Intel’s efforts to foster a more resilient global supply chain, alongside the company’s ongoing and planned manufacturing investments in Europe and the United States,” Intel said in a statement.

Let’s just be clear on this – it is the single LARGEST investment by a company in the Jewish state.

It most definitely dwarfs the free McDonald’s meals to Israeli soldiers that so enraged Malaysian boycotters to the extent that some McDonald’s outlets are reportedly facing closure due to the backlash.

Are Malaysian boycotters now going to turn their backs on anything that has ‘Intel’ stickers? That would mean almost every computer, laptop and numerous other digital devices that rely on the American tech giant’s semiconductor chips to bring their operating systems to life.

It is certainly going to be interesting to gauge what local boycotters think of this news given the sheer size of Intel’s investment. The American tech giant already employs 11,700 people in Israel and has invested more than $50 billion in the country over the last 50 years.

Given the timing of the announcement, it is very much a statement of support for Israel. Can boycotters, both local and internationally, truly flex their collective muscle to force a change of tact from Intel?

Time will tell, it seems. – Dec 28, 2023


Main pic credit: Intel

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