Boycott Blues

THE PORTER REPORT - A monthly update on the business world from leading writer David Porter

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The recent media coverage of the tit-for-tat missile exchanges between Israel and Iran inadvertently resulted in a significant change in the global perception of the Gaza War being underplayed.

Global media outlets have trained their reporting on whether or when Israel would respond to Iran’s attack on Israel. Iran’s attack was itself retaliation for the completely unprecedented attack on Iran’s consulate in Libya.

But the real news was that the coverage resulted in the downplaying of the recent decision by McDonald’s to buy back its 30-year-old Israel franchise from local franchisee Alonyal.

The reason? McDonald’s has been subject to boycotts and protests. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said previously the company had seen “meaningful business impact” in several markets in the Middle East due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. In February, Kempczinski was reported as saying the Gaza War had had a “disheartening” effect on sales in Middle Eastern countries and other Muslim-majority nations.

“So long as this conflict, this war, is going on … we’re not expecting to see any significant improvement in this,” Kempczinski reportedly said in a conference call.

Polls plunge

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly plunging to the lowest polls in his political history, with a majority of respondents calling for early elections.

The local protests come from relatives of the hostages taken on Oct 7 and still held by Hamas, who are outraged that Netanyahu’s war policy has had no effect on securing their release. They have also been joined by thousands of other Israelis concerned at the direction Netanyahu’s war is taking the country.

Netanyahu’s most notable response? He recently pushed through a bill that would allow him to take Quatar-based news network Al Jazeera off the air waves in Israel.

According to a recent report prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists, as of April 21, 2024, preliminary investigations showed at least 97 journalists and media workers were among the more than 34,000 killed since the war began on October 7.

Their total included more than 33,000 civilian deaths in Gaza and the West Bank and 1,200 deaths in Israel. This is believed to be the deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992.

However, as best we can tell, Al Jazeera is not widely watched within Israel.

What Netanyahu is likely to be far more anxious to suppress is the fact that Al Jazeera reporters are broadcasting a realistic and up to date picture of the enormous and senseless destruction the Israeli military is wreaking upon its captive colony.

Let us recall that Israel has long banned the entry of foreign reporters into the Gazan war zone.

Those journalists who report from the area – at enormous personal risk – are local Palestinian reporters.

And as a result of their reports there has been a discernible change in the reporting by other foreign news networks on the Gaza War. They are no longer willing to blindly accept as fact the statements of Israel and its main ally the US.

Sadly, US President Joe Biden is attempting to win a presidential election at a time when he is seen as enabling an ally who is very publicly ignoring his allegedly “stern” words urging restraint.

Read more: The messy business of democracy
David Porter
David Porter
THE PORTER REPORT - A monthly update on the business world from David Porter

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