We must boycott the Paris Olympic Games

Paris Olympics. Editorial credit: Keitma / Shutterstock.com

Journalist Hafsa Kara-Mustapha says France is one of Israel’s biggest supporters so the least Muslims can do is boycott this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

What makes the horror currently unfolding in Palestine even more unbearable is our sense of helplessness. We are seeing our people, our fellow human beings, exterminated on a daily basis, unable to act and make the carnage stop.

More painful of course is the attitude of Arab states who have failed to act decisively and demonstrate that this oil-rich region has, at the very least, economic leverage with which to impose its will.

On an individual level however, people have been more active, in particular across Western countries, which are Israeli terror’s main sponsors. There have been calls to boycott brands that are either closely associated with Israel or whose senior staff have expressed their support for the entity’s genocidal policies.

That of course is always to be welcomed but is it enough?

At retail level, seeing some outlets significantly empty has been heartwarming and has at least demonstrated that opinion, especially among the younger generation, is shifting. However, unless we see a major notable brand collapse, these are only small measures that on the whole barely impact the global economy let alone Israel’s.

That’s why on a political level, Muslim, but also global south countries, should now partake in mass official boycotts of goods and industries but also events.

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In France’s former colonies, in particular in Muslim North Africa, buying French cars is the go-to choice for any consumer, despite the plethora of other brands readily available.

France, alongside the U.S., Britain and Germany, is a staunch supporter of Israel, yet sadly knows it can still rely on Arab markets to lift its fledging economy. As an example, the luxury industry is one of France’s most successful sectors and its imports constitute a major element of “brand France” with conglomerates such as LVMH boasting labels like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior or Givenchy to name but a few.

Since the war in Ukraine started and these French brands adopted a stance against Russia, Russian consumers (once a sizeable element of their customer base) no longer buy them. Forced to rely on local brands, the unintended consequence has been a dramatic boost to the Russian economy as well as a major shift in attitudes against Western brands. These once much-loved and desired labels, are viewed with contempt across a country with a population of 144m.

Emmanuel Macron. Editorial credit: Victor Velter / Shutterstock.com

It’s worth noting that wealthy Arabs are undoubtedly the other big buyers of French designer goods. Sadly, despite France routinely flaunting its unabashed Islamophobia, Arabophobia and cult-like worship of Israel, Arabs customers are still buying French.

Yet with such shifts occurring both politically and socially across the world as a result of recent major events, surely our habits should start changing?

We now know that designer brands are just a marketing ploy designed to sell poor, or at best average, goods at premium prices. The key is to get celebrities or notable athletes to promote these goods which then allow consumers, usually on lower incomes, to feel a sense of fake kinship with these multimillionaires that rarely wear the goods they are paid to advertise.

Nevertheless, this marketing strategy that is decades old is almost foolproof. But people are gradually waking up to the con, in particular as many of these brands target ethnic minorities keen on “buying” themselves a status in countries that still look down on them.

Consequently it’s time for a mass boycott of goods but also of France PLC.

France anti-Palestinian witch-hunt

France, however, is not just a designer goods producer. In the summer of 2024, its capital Paris will be hosting the Olympic Games, for which it has invested billions and much of its reputation.

Given France’s politics, the Muslim world as well the Global South needs to unite and call for a unilateral boycott of these “games of shame” in particular as it is no longer embarrassed by its brazen racism and Islamophobia.

Algerian footballer Youcef Attal, who plays for French club OGC Nice, was this week sentenced to six months in prison (suspended) and given a Euro 45,000 fine. He was accused of supporting terror via a tweet in which he condemned Israeli violence.

A few days ago, black basketball champion Emilie Gomis was sacked from the Olympica Games committee. Her crime? Tweeting a map showing the encroachment of Israeli settlements on France as opposed to Palestine, which read “How would you feel if this was happening in Francel?”

Karim Benzema. Editorial credit: Mikolaj Barbanell / Shutterstock.com

This was picked up by pro-Israeli groups who called for her immediate sacking. Despite her countless apologies, she was removed from all activities relevant to the games. Her sponsors have all dropped her and her career and income have all but disappeared.

In the land of Charlie Hebdo, only drawing obscene and highly offensive cartoons of the Prophet (PBUH) is permissible, anything else is banned and considered a punishable affair.

In early November a notable French Sephardi singer Enrico Macias, stated on live TV that members of leftwing party LFI who expressed support for Palestinians should be “deleted.” When pressed to rectify his response by the shocked TV host, he insisted:  “I mean physically.”

That call to violence went unpunished when the most innocuous tweets of support for Palestine are met with a flurry of insults and even threats. Sometimes from the highest levels.

On the 15th October 2023, football star Karim Benzema, tweeted that he “was praying for Gaza.” Hardly a politically-charged comment, yet the Interior Minister accused him of being associated with Islamist organisations and a petition was launched calling for his French citizenship to be revoked.

In such a climate doesn’t France deserve a massive metaphorical slap in the face? Shouldn’t their Olympic Games be a massive flop, with empty seats across the country’s stadia and low participation that removes all the value and spirit of the competition?

Decisive action

If we want to take a firm stance, we need to take decisive action. The upcoming Olympic Games in Paris should be boycotted. No ifs or buts.

Of course it is understandable that athletes look forward to this international event and regard it as the pinnacle of their sporting life. Such a move would be considered punitive, but it is now obvious that all these major events and tournaments are simply an expression of Western supremacy and hegemony.

With the most glaring example of pro-Ukrainian sportsmen and women feted for their support for Ukraine in its conflict against Russia when pro-Palestinian ones are punished, sanctionned or even prosecuted. In addition, no politician or media pressed them to show “balance” or provide “context” for their position, when this is standard when dealing with any pro-Palestine voice.

It’s fair to note that today, too few politicians from the Global South will rise to the occasion. Equally Gulf monarchies who are sold-out to the god of money and have lost all sense of dignity and principles are hardly expected to join, even if their presence at international sporting events are ever notable.

A view of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games flag next to the French and EU flag in front of French Presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, France on January 05, 2024. ( Mustafa Yalcin – Anadolu Agency )

Despite their royals or tourists being routinely abused and humiliated when visiting France, their support in a global action in favour of Palestine is hardly to be expected if it means not buying an overpriced hand bag.

So it is now up to the average citizen to take action. Palestine may be far, but the consequences of the unchallenged policies of the genocide-enablers currently in power across much of the world will soon be felt everywhere.

We are currently at a crossroads and brave and often difficult decisions need to be taken: not in the form of violence but simply with the basic means at our disposal such as withdrawing our purchasing power from brands that ultimately have nothing but contempt for us, their consumers. We are the ones making them money; we have the power to stop doing that.

We also need to boycott events that are used as platforms to promote certain countries and their politics.

After all, how can we press our politicians to act, if we are too weak to act ourselves? How can we call on boycotts when we are not prepared to make the smallest of sacrifices?

Let’s call for a massive boycott of France’s upcoming Olympic Games. Let’s lobby Muslim and Global South countries to collectively encourage the boycott. After 30,000 Palestinian deaths and still no action to stop Israeli crimes, surely that’s the least we could do. The decision is our’s.

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