November 13, 2023 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1727

Pakistani Twitter Users Promote Boycott Of 'Israeli And Jewish Products': 'If We Cannot Go To Palestine And Wage Jihad, Then By Boycotting These Products, We Can At Least Provide Evidence Of The Dignity Of Our Faith'

November 13, 2023 | By Mantasha Ansari*
Pakistan, Palestinians | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1727

A global campaign on social media and on the ground in Islamic countries, notably in Pakistan, is underway calling for the boycott of "Israeli and Jewish products." According to a report in the Urdu daily Roznama Mashriq of November 7, 2023, the sale of "18 Jewish products" allegedly manufactured by Jewish-owned companies declined by 50 percent in Peshawar and other areas of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.[1] The report said this reduction in sales was a result of a social media campaign against Jewish companies.

In the second week of November, one of the largest banks of Pakistan, Bank Alfalah, was accused of supporting Israel after it issued an internal memo to its branches instructing them not to accept any donations into the account of the Embassy of Palestine. The bank's memo, noting the Pakistani rupee and U.S. dollar accounts of the Palestine Embassy, stated: "With immediate effect, all BAFL Branches are advised not to accept any donation funds."[2]

A tweet by Islamist writer Orya Maqbool Jan seems to have triggered boycott of Bank Al-Falah

Senior Pakistani writer Orya Maqbool Jan, known for his Islamist views and support of jihadi organizations, seems to have triggered the boycott of Bank Al-Falah, tweeting in Urdu: "Does the State Bank of Pakistan, which is the controller of all banks, take orders from Israel? A scheduled bank has issued a circular that no donation be accepted in the account of the Palestinian Embassy. The police's violence on those raising protests in favor of Palestine was already a matter of shame."[3]

Pakistani users on social media platforms, including X (formerly Twitter), launched a campaign using the hashtag #boycottBankAlFalah, even though the bank clarified that any donation can be given into a designated account for the specific purpose. Mishi Khan (@mishilicious), an actor, host, and singer, posted a two-minute video urging people to boycott Bank Al-Falah, stating: "Allah's curse will be upon banks like these."[4] X user Komail Ahmad Muaviah (@KomailMuavia313), describing himself as a "Fundamental Muslim," wrote: "Bank Al-Falah refused to collect donations for Palestine. Take your money out of these haramkhors [haram eaters] so that they also realize."[5]

Ayesha (@Ayesha25269167), a Pakistani woman, tweeted: "Bank Al-Falah has refused to collect donations for the Muslims of Palestine. I am completely boycotting Bank Al-Falah starting today. By keeping our money, they become Pharaoh; They follow their own will, this will not work now..."[6] Sajid Usmani (@SajidFb), who describes himself as a journalist, model, and businessman, tweeted: "After withdrawing all my money I have given an application to them today for my account to be closed."[7]

In Mansehra town in Pakistan in mid-October, a legal fraternity organized a rally billed as "Labbaik Al-Quds Rally" to express solidarity with Palestinian Muslims. At this rally, the legal community, according to a media report, called for "an economic boycott of Israel and its products."[8] At the Labbaik Al-Quds Rally, which was organized by lawyers as well as Islamic religious scholars owing allegiance to the radical Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), speakers said: "Jihad is the only solution to the suffering of Palestinians."[9]

On November 5, Iqbal (@Iqbal9991155834), another X user, joined the campaign for the boycott of "Israeli and Jewish products" and posted a TikTok video featuring products to be boycotted. The video featured brands such as Puma, Netflix, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, etc. The video included Urdu text that read: "These are popular Israeli products that many of us unintentionally purchase and become partners in the massacre of Palestinian Muslim brothers. At least sitting at home take part in this jihad."[10]

On November 3, 2023, a verified X user Sajid Usmani (@SajidFb) posted an image containing a list of Israeli products in Urdu language with the caption "Boycott Israeli products." The image included a message in Urdu, stating: "If we cannot go to Palestine and wage jihad, then by boycotting these products, we can at least provide evidence of the dignity of our faith. The weapons used on innocent Palestinians are purchased with your money."[11]

The attached image carries a long list of "Israeli products," from tea leaves and cooking oil to sanitary pads and ice creams, dishwashing soaps and chocolates, to diapers and spices used in South Indian cooking. The brands include Lipton, Lays, Nutalia, KitKat, KFC, McDonalds, Pamper, L'Oreal, Johnson and Johnson, Nestle, and Maggie noodles.[12]

The list of so-called "Israeli products" tweeted by X user Sajid Usmani (@SajidFb)

On November 9, an X user from Pakistan posted a picture with the caption "support your own economy for once, boycott Israeli products" to encourage the embrace of Pakistani products and the boycott of Israeli products.[13] Sadaf Fatima, a Muslim woman from Pakistan, shared an image with the caption "I #boycott Israeli products."[14] In her post, she urged others to "boycott Jewish products if you are a Muslim or Pakistani."[15]

Another X user shared a video with the hashtags #boycottisraelbrands, encouraging the boycott of "companies that support Israel."[16] On November 9, 2023, K. M. Mughal posted a video on Twitter with the caption "Boycott Israel and USA products." The video urged the boycott of well-known brands like KFC, Aquafina water, and Nestle, etc. He wrote: "My dear Muslim brothers... if you want to do something for Palestine, please boycott Israeli products."[17]

An image tweeted by an X user, notifying a list of international brands that should be boycotted. The account identifies these products as "Israeli businesses and products" and uses the hashtags "#boycottisraelbrands and #FreePalestine."[18]

On November 7, 2023, Blood Donors Pakistan, with the Twitter handle @BDonorsPakistan, posted a picture depicting a tower of blocks with the names of reportedly Jewish-owned brands written on each block collapsing. The image symbolized the call to "boycott Israeli brands" and featured a hand reaching to remove the McDonald's block. [19]

Blood Donors Pakistan (@BDonorsPakistan) – which describes itself as "a social service initiative connecting blood requesters and donors" – joined the campaign for the boycott of Israeli and Jewish products. The above image tweeted by it shows a hand reaching to remove McDonald's in order for Israel to fall from a card of blocks.

However, an Indian social media user responded to the Pakistani boycott campaign, saying: "Pakistanis are trying to show that by pretending to boycott Pepsi, they are with Palestine in the Israel-Palestine war, while on the other hand, the Pakistani cricket team promotes Pepsi on its jersey because money comes from there. Yes, Pakistanis will mortgage Islam for money."[20]

On November 9, an Indian account on Twitter joined the debate with Pakistanis calling for boycott of international brands, reminding them that the Pakistani cricket team, which is in India participating in the ICC World Cup Cricket 2023, was promoting Pepsi on t-shirts.

On November 5, 2023, Sajid Usmani posted another picture in which he depicted KFC, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks, and McDonald's – all shown as armed with weapons, bombs, cannons, and suicide-bomber's vests.[21] To advocate for the boycott of Israeli products, the image featured the caption: "We can do this at least; now we will not be a means of their income."[22]

On November 8, 2023, Sajid Usmani posted two pictures on Twitter, one showcasing all Pakistani products and the other featuring only Israeli products. In his tweet, he urged the boycott of Israeli products, and used hashtags #boycottisraelbrands and #BoycottIsrael to emphasize his message. He wrote: "There are two pictures in one of them are all Pakistani products; And the second one is all Israeli products!"[23]

Major brands are shown as armed with different types of weapons

The boycott campaign is underway not only in Pakistan, but across the world. Indian journalist Sadaf Afreen posted a video of Kim Daud, a Korean YouTuber, and tweeting in Hindi language: "Korean YouTuber Kim Daud has called for boycotting Israeli products because the companies producing these products allocate a portion of their earnings to the Israeli army. The Israeli army has been accused of committing atrocities against Palestinian children."[24]

On November 4, 2023, Tohid Shaikh, an Indian Muslim user of X, ran the hashtag campaign #boycottIsraeliproducts and #boycottisraelbrands, urging the use of Indian products and emphasizing their role in empowering the country. Additionally, he shared four images of Indian products and advocated for boycotting "Israeli products and Israeli brands."[25]

The official account of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), known as the BDS movement (@BDSmovement), shared a picture with the caption: "Many of you have written to ask us about the accuracy of lists of companies being spread on social media. We have put together this definitive explainer to help focus our collective efforts on ending complicity with Israel's apartheid regime."[26] It shows major international brands to be boycotted.

In a tweet dated November 4, a verified X user said that "Israel just now changed its barcode from 729 to 871. The barcode changed due to the public's boycott of Israeli products."[27] The tweet urged social media users to note the change in barcode and "Please share and publish so that everyone can benefit."[28] The tweeter added three hashtags #BoycottIsraeliGoods, #boycottisraelbrands, and #BoycottIsraeliProducts for wider spread of the message.

An image tweeted by X user @lastvibes urges supporters to note Israeli barcode

One user posted a video in which he urged people to boycott Israeli products, stressing: "This boycott will cost Israel largely."[29] A Twitter handle (@noonu_online) promoted the hashtag campaign with a message: "#BoycottDior #BoycottStarbucks #Boycott all other products and those made in #Israel."[30]

Sarini Zainal (@sarinizainal) – CEO of a Malaysian firm – shared an image of virtually all international brands with the message: "Just make a thread for alternative products to pro-Israel brands..."[31] A Twitter user shared a video the caption "See how Malaysians boycott Israeli products."[32] The video, apparently filmed in a Malaysian shopping complex, features a scene where images of Palestinian children who had been affected or killed in Israeli attacks were being displayed alongside Israeli brands. Each image poses a question: "Do you still want to buy this?"[33]

Following are some of the images being circulated on social media, identifying products to be boycotted:

This image tweeted on November 9, by the BDS Movement – an organized and long-running campaign for boycott of Israel – shows what it called a "definitive explainer" of brands whose boycott will undermine Israel.

Shirin Khan, a USA-based X user with around 35,000 followers, posted a picture featuring the owners of KFC, McDonald's, and other brands, labeling them as "killers" and showing them drinking blood.[34]

An image being widely shared on Twitter shows list of alternative brands in Pakistan that anti-Israel protesters can buy and boycott those products listed in the image on left.

This image was tweeted by Aslam Patel, a Muslim man of South Asian origin, from Vancouver, British Columbia, listing Israeli brands for Muslims to boycott.[35]

A Twitter account "Islamic Ways" (@Islamicways313) urged the boycott of McDonald's with the hashtag #BoycottMacdonalds and noting "Gaza Under Attack" and the image showing missiles in the form of McDonalds arch targeting a Palestinian child.[36]

* Mantasha Ansari is a Research Assistant at MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project.


[1], November 7, 2023.

[2], November 9, 2023.

[3], November 9, 2023.

[4], November 9, 2023.

[5], November 8, 2023.

[6], November 9, 2023.

[7], November 8, 2023.

[8], October 15, 2023.

[9], October 15, 2023.

[10], November 5, 2023.

[11], November 3, 2023.

[12], November 3, 2023.

[13], November 9, 2023.

[14], October 15, 2023.

[15], October 15, 2023.

[16], November 2, 2023.

[17], November 9, 2023.

[18], November 4, 2023.

[19], November 7, 2023.

[20], November 9, 2023.

[21], November 5, 2023.

[22], November 5, 2023.

[23], November 8, 2023.

[24], November 3, 2023.

[25], November 4, 2023.

[26], November 9, 2023.

[27], November 4, 2023.

[28], November 4, 2023.

[29], November 9, 2023.

[30], November 8, 2023.

[31], November 5, 2023.

[32], November 9, 2023.

[33], November 9, 2023.

[34], November 8, 2023.

[35], November 5, 2023.

[36], November 4, 2023.

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