Israel received a hammer blow from sportswear maker Nike. The mega-brand has announced that it will end the sale of its products in occupation state stores, a move hailed by social media users as yet another victory for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
“Following a full review by the company and taking into account the evolution of the market, it has been decided that the continuation of the business relationship between you and the company no longer corresponds to the policy and objectives of the company, “Nike reportedly said in a letter. sent to stores in Israel.
Nike’s move is expected to hit retailers hard. As one of the most popular sports brands in the world, its products account for a large part of the sales.
Although the company has apparently made the decision in line with its global plan to reduce the number of stores it works with and channel business through its website, the move has sparked an online debate over its motives.
The move follows ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s decision to end sales in the occupied Palestinian territories. Founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield explained earlier this year why they believe the company “is on the right side of history” in making the decision to boycott business in the occupied West Bank. Amnesty International welcomed the decision, calling it “a legitimate and necessary response, consistent with its responsibility to respect international law and human rights”.
Before HRW’s report, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called Israel an “apartheid state” that “encourages and perpetuates Jewish supremacy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.” Echoing the 2017 UN report which concluded that Israel practiced apartheid, B’Tselem rejected the popular misconception that it is a democracy within the Green Line (1949 of armistice). Prior to Ben & Jerry’s announcement, several high-profile reports concluded that Israel is practicing apartheid. In April, prominent human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) joined a host of other prominent groups in declaring that Israel was committing crimes of apartheid and persecution.
In a June article, two former Israeli ambassadors to South Africa also denounced Israel as an apartheid state, drawing parallels with the system of formal racial segregation in South Africa which ended in 1994. The post also adopted by American Jews, a quarter of them believe Israel to be an apartheid state, according to a recent report, as do nearly two-thirds of American scholars and scholars.