Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'd like to add my 2 cents to Roy's post about U2U's decision not to work with Israelis.

The way I see it, politics and business are two very different think, and mixing them together is wrong. The base for this statement is that:

  1. That's not the way to settle things. If anything, I think that good business, which leads to good human interaction, could be much more helpful in promoting political ideas than not doing business at all.
  2. It's a collective punishment, much like the same things Mr. Uyttersprot is trying to go against.

China is one of the most oppressive countries against its own people - would you stop making business with all Chinese companies, stop buying anything Made in China, because of that?

The American use of Guantánamo Bay detainment camp has been controversial to say the least - would you stop making business with all American companies because of that?

Saudi Arabia's government states that all citizen must be Muslim. The religious minorities are not allowed to have their churches or temples or pray in public. There are also very harsh laws oppressing women. I suggest you'd stop buying all petroleum-based products...

Nike has admitted abusing its workers in the Asian continent. Not buying their products would make MUCH more sense, since it would directly hurt the abuser in question. Yet, I'd bet you'll find at least one pair of Nike's in Mr. Uyttersprot's closet.

I'm not saying Mr. Uyttersprot is right with his political claims. All I'm saying is that there are many aspects to this war, every Israeli agrees with some of the decisions taken during the war and disagrees with others. Like Roy, I believe it's almost impossible to pass a judgement when you haven't been there, let alone when you don't know all the facts. In any case, and even if you do subscribe to the political views of Mr. Uyttersprot, I don't think it's wise to mix business with politics. And if you do - please, have the decency to remain consistent with your claims: stop doing business with China, USA, Saudi Arabia and almost any other country on the globe (including Belgium, which has a history it would rather forget, oppressing the people in Kongo). And if you're not, then you're just a hypocrite.

[Note: I was born in Belgium, live in Israel and hold both nationalities.]

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