Nike has delivered a heavy blow to Israel’s economy. The mega-brand has declared that it will no longer sell its goods in shops in the occupation state, a decision that social media users have hailed a huge success for the worldwide Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In a letter to Israel Nike reportedly said, “Following a comprehensive review performed by the company and considering the changing marketplace, it has been decided that the continuation of the business relationship between you and the company does no longer match the company’s policy and goals”.
Nike’s decision is likely to have a significant impact on retailers. Its goods make for a significant percentage of revenues as one of the most popular sports brands in the world.
Although the change seems to be in line with the company’s overall strategy to limit the number of shops it works with and channel business via its website, it has sparked an online discussion over the company’s motives.
The decision comes after ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s announced that it will no longer sell its products in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Earlier this year, the company’s founders, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, stated that their company is “on the right side of history” by boycotting business in the occupied West Bank. Praising the decision, Amnesty International described it as “a legitimate and necessary response, in line with its responsibility to respect international law and human rights.
Prior to Ben & Jerry’s announcement, several high-profile reports concluded that Israel is practicing apartheid. In April, the pre-eminent human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) joined a host of other prominent groups to declare that Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution.
Prior to HRW’s study, B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, called Israel a “apartheid” state that “promotes and maintains Jewish dominance between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.” B’Tselem rejected the widespread belief that Israel is a democracy inside the Green (1949 Armistice) Line, echoing the UN’s 2017 assessment that found Israel to be practicing apartheid.
Earlier in June, in an article, the two former Israeli ambassadors to South Africa slammed Israel as an apartheid state, citing similarities with South Africa’s system of official racial segregation, which ended in 1994.
According to a recent study, a quarter of American Jews think Israel is an apartheid state, as do almost two-thirds of American intellectuals and academics.