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French Version

INTERFACE : Boycott tech-support to Israel

The PC on your desk is based on an Intel microprocessor, an American product (may I add that Intel has a huge manufacturing facility in Israel), while an American company, Microsoft, also produces the operating system running on your computer.

JORDAN (Star) - Amidst the calls to boycott American products, because of the stance the US government has taken regarding Israel's recent assault on the Palestinian people, there is a discussion of how, or rather if, it is possible to apply such a boycott to technology products.

To be perfectly honest, a complete boycott is not possible because it would mean that we would have to turn of our computers. The PC on your desk is based on an Intel microprocessor, an American product (may I add that Intel has a huge manufacturing facility in Israel), while an American company, Microsoft, also produces the operating system running on your computer. What's more, every major office application you use everyday is produced in the United States.

So, it seems ridiculous to stop buying software which drives our economy, especially when it represents our most 'potent' weapon.

Technology is a valuable tool for the Arab cause. Without our computers and the Internet we can't convey the Arab point of view about this crisis. So, it would be against our best interests to even consider a tech-boycott.

However, rather than boycotting American companies in the absolute sense, it would be much more fruitful to boycott American companies who have strong ties with Israel.

In the technology field there are many of those, some of whom have set-up investments worth billions of dollars in Israel. That has always baffled me, considering the state of conflict Israel is continuously facing.

Any economist will tell you that foreign investments do not go to countries where there are conflicts, because of the risks involved.

So, it would be safe to say that an international technology company who invests in Israel does so either due to political pressures or out of a pure desire to support Israel. Such a company could be boycotted on both counts!

Expanding that reasoning would mean a potential boycott for companies based in countries other than just the United States, who also have investments in Israel. Therefore, European, Canadian or Japanese companies could also be included.

Even more important is to pin-point Israeli-made technology that we use everyday, and boycott it if possible.

An obvious example is ICQ, which was created by an Israeli company called Mirabillis, who were later bought out by an American company but still operate from Israel. Don't use it, tell your Arab friends not to use it and tell your foreign friends why you stopped using it.

Also, find out if you're using any other software made in Israel. It's quite simple, just check the 'About' section in the software pull down menu.

Also, boycott and speak out on any computer games that portray Arabs as terrorists and boycott the games' publishing house telling all your friends, all over the Arab world to do the same.

Apply this policy of 'smart-boycotting'. It will achieve your goal of protesting American policy and Israeli arrogance, while ensuring that you've still got the tools and means to serve the Arab cause. Without at least some technology, we just can't achieve our goals.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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