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BDS Malaysia Says US Has No Right To Lecture Or Advice Malaysians About Boycotts

BDS Malaysia Says US Has No Right To Lecture Or Advice Malaysians About Boycotts

US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D Kagan recently said the embassy supports Malaysians’ right to boycott US-linked products but said it only hurts the locals here.

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Earlier this week, the US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D Kagan said the United States supports the right of Malaysians to engage in peaceful protests at its embassy as a way to express their dissatisfaction with Israel over the Gaza conflict.

We strongly support the right to peaceful protest and, obviously, our preference would be that they do not see us as the way to express dissatisfaction with Israel because we are not Israel. But we also understand that that’s the reality that we are operating in.

US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D Kagan

He said Malaysians have the right to boycott US-linked products peacefully but pointed out that it only hurts other Malaysians, not the intended targets, as they’re indirectly affected.

People going through security checks at Axiata Arena Bukit Jalil Stadium to participate in the Malaysia Stands with Palestine Rally Kuala Lumpur on 24 October 2023. Image: Malay Mail

He said there may be some “symbolic satisfaction” in boycotting the products or companies but ultimately, it doesn’t hurt Israelis and the US. The people getting hurt in the process are the locals working in these companies.

Instead, the ones directly affected are the two main outlets that are being boycotted. One is owned by Malaysians, one is owned by Saudis. The people who are suffering as a result are the Malaysian employees.

US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D Kagan

It’s believed Kagan was referring to Starbucks and McDonald’s, two major US-linked brands currently facing boycotts by Malaysians.

Starbucks is owned by Berjaya Group, while the McDonald’s franchises in Malaysia and Singapore are owned by Reza Food Services, a unit of Saudi conglomerate Reza Investment Company.

BDS Malaysia’s response

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia issued an open letter to Kagan to voice their views.

BDS Malaysia said they found it “galling” that Kagan saw fit to “pretend” that the welfare of Malaysian workers is of great concern to him.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) stated that the US is now known worldwide as an enabler and facilitator of genocide and thus, has no credibility to lecture or advise people in other countries on what they should or shouldn’t do.

They added that the US government continues to assist Israel in the genocide of Palestinians and is guilty of racism like the Israelis.

The genocide in Gaza plainly is taking place due to the fact that the stronger, more powerful Zionist perpetrator views the lives of its Palestinian victims as being totally worthless because the latter is of a different race or religion.

BDS Malaysia said in an open letter to Kagan
Image: TRP File

BDS Malaysia also said the US embassy’s concern for Malaysian workers is hypocritical, citing how the US embassy recently refused to pay RM60,000 in damages to a Malaysian security guard who was unfairly dismissed.

The NGO believe that companies that truly care about the fate of employees in companies targeted by boycotts should “do the right thing” and pressure those companies to submit to the demands of boycott campaigns.

If they disagree with the objectives of the boycott, they should be honest and just say so, instead of trying to be disingenuous and claiming that employees’ welfare is the reason they believe a boycott is a bad idea.

BDS Malaysia

While Kagan said the US embassy supports Malaysians’ right to boycott, BDS Malaysia shared that 37 states in the US passed anti-boycott laws with little or no public debate. The laws specifically ban boycotts that are directed against Israel.

As a believer in the right of the public to boycott, you ought to voice out your concern that the First Amendment rights of your fellow Americans are being eroded just to satisfy the demands of a foreign country, namely Israel.

BDS Malaysia

BDS Malaysia said the US is being on the wrong side of history by openly supporting Israel through weapons supply and diplomatic cover.

After seeing what is unfolding in Gaza, BDS Malaysia believes many people can see that much of it is enabled by the US government and its stand for democracy and human rights an ugly mask.

The open letter can be read in full here.

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