Unions call for boycott of Turkish goods

Turkish sponsoring of Gaza flotilla sparks consumer reaction.

Boycott Turkey campaign 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Boycott Turkey campaign 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli unions are calling for a boycott of all Turkish goods, in response to Turkey’s involvement in last week’s Gaza-bound “aid” flotilla that had to be stopped by Israeli naval commandos.
Earlier this week, union leaders announced that they would not buy Turkish-made goods when buying gifts for workers – expenditures that reached NIS 2 billion last year.
“The unions see their activities as a mobilization of a national mission,” wrote Ya’acov Alush, CEO of Va’adim, a company that gathers information on the social and economic activities of the country’s unions.
He added in the Sunday press release that they “hope that the boycott against Turkey would lead the public to influence their government to change its policy toward Israel.”
This week’s boycott of products extends a year-long union policy of bypassing Turkey as a vacation spot for its workers. That move cut Israeli trips to Turkey nearly in half, according to Danny Tzimet, deputy chairman of the Israel-Turkey Business Council.
But a full boycott of Turkish products would be more difficult, Tzimet said.
“Any serious company or business body will not dare or will not take the initiative to boycott Turkey because the bilateral trade is so active,” Tzimet said.
While major Israeli companies have thus far refrained from taking a stance, grassroots advocacy groups have called for similar boycotts of Turkish goods.
One chain e-mail listed over 20 popular products that are made in Turkey and sold in Israel.
“Turkish? Do not buy it! Check,” the e-mail reads.
It warned against buying items from an array of international companies that manufacture in Turkey: the products range from shower creams to cars. Frigidaire refrigerators, the Honda Civic, L’Oreal hair conditioner, and Lipton tea were only some of the products on the list.
Last year, Moshe Lev-Ari created a group on Facebook to support a boycott of Turkey in response to that nation’s criticism of Israel during the invasion of Gaza. At the time, the group had fewer than 100 members. In the last four days, hesaid, the group’s membership had jumped to nearly 1,000.
“We had massive amounts of people that came and joined the group,” said Lev- Ari. He added that his original intentions had been to discourage vacationing in Turkey, but he had seen widespread support for boycotts of all Turkish goods, including by other Facebook groups.