Seven degrees of Israel tech boycott

Summary:I'm all for boycotting companies that go against my ethical principles but I really don't think that Marrickville Council thought about all the technology that is linked with Israel before deciding to boycott goods and services related to the country.

I'm all for boycotting companies that go against my ethical principles but I really don't think that Marrickville Council thought about all the technology that is linked with Israel before deciding to boycott goods and services related to the country.

In a motion passed in December last year, Marrickville Council joined the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign (PDF) boycotting all goods and services made in Israel, in protest of the Israeli government's occupation of Palestinian land.

Boycotts are an excellent way to send a message to people you perceive as doing something wrong. I stopped getting Gloria Jean's coffee in 2004 when I found out that the company was supporting an anti-abortion group known as Mercy Ministries.

But calling for a boycott of absolutely everything a nation such as Israel produces is just absurd, and really not thought through when you think of all the tech that comes from Israel.

As others have pointed out yesterday, all Hewlett-Packard (HP) computers would have to be removed from all council premises, but the council might have to go even further than that. IBM has a research facility in Israel that looks at cloud computing, and Intel has a factory based in Israel, too. So just to be safe, Marrickville Council will have to avoid every single IBM cloud-based initiative and rip open every computer — HP or not — to make sure that their computer doesn't have Intel inside.

It's just illogical and serves no real benefit for residents other than giving the council a warm fuzzy feeling that their conscience is clean.

When I asked Marrickville Council if it intended to rip out all the Intel chips from its computers as part of the boycott, the council directed me back to the motion on the council's website and declined to comment.

In any case, I agree with NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. The council needs to be less concerned with its international social battles and instead worry about what's in the best interest of its residents. And banning HP, Intel and IBM is not the best way to go.

Topics: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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