The boycott campaign against Woolworths has come under criticism from a local analyst, who has questioned the singling out of one company in protest against Israeli occupation. Reputation management expert, Solly Moeng, says the #BoycottWoolworths campaign initiated by the BDS movement, will have little effect unless government takes a proactive stance in its policy against Israel.
“I’m not saying it is right to import from Israel, especially if those products come from disputed territory which is not the case with Woolies, but these guys should be going to government to say that they need to take a stance,” he said.
He insisted the issue of Israeli policy was a major global problem, not limited to South Africa. As such, a boycott against a single company would not have the desired effect. Instead, local government intervention was imperative in order to tackle Israel’s continued oppressive policies.
Despite such a stance seeming somewhat sympathetic to Woolworths, he said that he was fully against any company, local or international, who indirectly supported Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
“But if we want to be effective we must go to the top, and the top is government. If it makes government policy, everyone else will want to follow. They cannot expect one company in SA to impose sanctions on Israel, it doesn’t work that way,” he stressed.
But taking such an outright stance would likely be difficult for government, especially considering many in the country would be opposed to such a decision. Moeng said it would prove to be a difficult ‘balancing act’ on the part of government.
As to the boycott campaign itself, he suggested a better option would be to have some form of discourse with all local retailers, with the goal of creating a unified front against Israeli imports.
“Why don’t they (BDS) say, let’s go to all the retailers of SA and make sure none of them buy products from Israel. We don’t know whether Pick n Pay, Spar and others are also purchasing stuff from Israel,” he noted. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)