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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Monday, February 20, 2006

What does Israel have to do with it?

Ok, I said I wasn't going to blog, but damn it, I just received this very infuriating tip in an e-mail from one of my danish readers, and it just made my blood boil. Apparently in order for Arla Foods - the producer of Lurpak and lots of danish chesse- to resume their markets and operations in the Middle East, they have to promise not to do any business with Israel - not trade goods with them, and not use their ports or anything of that nature. How messed up is that? What does trading with Israel have to do with anything? I thought Arla was having problems over the fact that it happend to be danish when a danish paper made a cartoon that drove the muslim world insane. Why do they have to forsake trading with Israel to resume relations with the middle-east? What did they have to do with the cartoons? And why are they in the middle of this again? WTF is this bullshit? I hope this news report is false. I really do!


At 2/19/2006 08:22:00 PM, Blogger elengil said...

If it's not false, Arla should pointedly snub the rest of the countries and trade with Israel since Israel, after all, didn't burn any embassies.

At 2/19/2006 08:26:00 PM, Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

By boycotting trade relations with Israel over the hope of resuming of business in Middle Eastern markets - Arla foods would have proven to the world that the cartoons have been used as a political excuse to incite or rather destabilize Arab/Muslim-Israeli relationships.

Jyllands-Posten have succeeded in giving Muslims an excuse for antagonism regardless of its legitimacy. It now seems more obvious that Muslim countries are using the cartoons as a political tool.

If Arla conceeds to the Muslim countries' demands in order to re-enter their markets, then sadly the extravagant acts of arson, rioting and violence have succeeded. Ignorance, backwardness and barbarism have risen up as winners and diplomacy, freedom of speech and civilization have become losers.

At 2/19/2006 08:29:00 PM, Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

Visit my blog!


At 2/19/2006 08:38:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

Im sick of this..Will they ever grow up? Seriously. God how dumb..God Damn RETARDS

At 2/19/2006 08:51:00 PM, Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

The boycott of Israel is an old story. These companies (it's not only Arla) have done that a long time. The Arab market is much larger than the israeli market. And when Arab countries require boycott of Israel in retur for orders, the firms comply. This is the way capitalism works. Don't expect these companies to work on the moral high ground. They'll sell their grandmother for a lucrative export order!
Business is business, and money doesn't smell.

Arla and other Danish companies are angry with Jyllandsposten for having spoilt their markets in ME countries.

At 2/19/2006 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has always been like that in a lot of muslim countries.

In Malaysia at the border there are signs and in custom papers they have notes it saying no articles from Isral are to be imported.

At 2/19/2006 10:53:00 PM, Anonymous Kjartan said...

As Cosmic Duck says it is an old story that many danish companies have been signing these kinds of clauses in order to be let into arab markets. They haven't necessarily been complying with it (i.e., they have not really been boycotting Israel), but they have been signing these forms. Apparently the symbolism is the most important part.

So these clauses are not new; the story has just now become of interest to the danish press, because of the cartoon boycott.

At 2/19/2006 11:48:00 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

We have to understand that this really does not have anything to do with cartoons. That's just the excuse. When bullies complain about the way they have been treated there is always a grain of truth to make people think that that is what it is really about. Having lived and worked for three years in the Middle East I would state that the thing that is really valued is power, followed by money (power allows you to just take the wealth you want), in your own interests first followed by that of your family, clan, tribe, religious grouping. Oppression begins in the home and continues at school, at work etc., and then repeats itself in the next generation. Truth, beauty, right and wrong are not important concepts in Arab societies and honesty and integrity scarcely exist. This is argued quite correctly in the United Nations Arab Human Development Reports. And as one analyst has said, Arab societies are a constant battle for shaming rights. And, as I say, from my observations, this is all perfectly correct.

I have just found the following in the Gulf News:

"Muslims around the world should exercise more tolerance, patience and seize the opportunity to make Europe feel "ashamed", a leading Bosnian religious figure said."

"We should take this opportunity to make Europe feel ashamed and we have to benefit from that. And now, some Muslims have to go to Europe to apologise for what they did for their [European] embassies."

"We have to boycott the products of Denmark until Denmark realises its mistake and comes and says the magic word: Sorry,"

This trying to make us, or 'Denmark,' admit we did something wrong, rather than just apologising for hurting people's feelings is about HUMILIATING the West and nothing more. It's certainly not about respect for religion or equal treatment for Islam. Equality is an unknown concept in Middle Eastern society. In Arab societies people are offended, dishonoured, if you do not acknowledge their superiority. The West dishonours Islam by not admitting its superiority.

So they want to make us feel ashamed. They do not mean ashamed for what we have done. After all a few cartoons is nothing to feel ashamed about. They want us to ADMIT that it was wrong to draw the cartoons, that they are right and we are wrong. It is this act of admitting that they are right and Denmark DID SOMETHING WRONG that is intended to be the humiliation.

Notice, when the West does do something which is clearly WRONG, e.g. Abu Ghuraib, it is admitted that there was a breakdown of discipline, that this should not have happened, an investigation is held and people are punished.

It is precisely because there is nothing really wrong with publishing a few cartoons that it is so important that Europe behaves itself and admits it has been naughty. It is all the more humiliating to be forced to admit that something trivial was wrong and you have been naughty, than if you have really done something wrong. We are dealing with control freaks.

It's just about power and contol, revenge, defending one's honour. However we are dealing with societies that ritually sacrifice their sons and daughters in defence of honour. That is to say, there are very few limits if any to what is considered permissible to defend your honour.

Incidentally, the nature of society and the APU are all of a piece. They go together. The first produces the second, which in turn perpetuates the first.

Unfortunately all the signs are that this has got worse over the last thirty years.

At 2/19/2006 11:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kjartan's version of the story, is the right one - been going on for years, but they have not followed it (too much) in real life!

At 2/20/2006 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandmonky I do agree but in real life it’s normally a demand in the LC that you transportation company has to issue a certificate that they are not using Israeli airports or Israeli transportation.

That is standard practice all over the world because this is a standard demand from all the Muslim countries incl. UAE.

Personally I have never signed not to make business with Israel, and those signing that shit are NOT complying with it.

We just say yes sir and have trade with Israel also.

I do see the moral aspect of it but what it is that you want to do? Stop trading with Muslim countries?

AND this is an old story and has nothing to do with getting the marked back.

Personal I also think Arla has to stop crying and I do think that we have apologies more the enough even though I will properly personal loos my job on this I will never personally apologise for this drawings and in general I think that two many people are giving away to this total crazy no case case and the radical Muslims.

At 2/20/2006 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Just be sure to make kosher products. Israelis are one of the best consumers ;) and fuck the rest.

At 2/20/2006 12:47:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Btw, I mentioned this before: Hidden trade Israel - Arab states

At 2/20/2006 01:35:00 AM, Anonymous Sally said...

oh, no, but i love lurpak!
on a serious note, boycotting is one thing but extortion is another. this is despicable behavior on the part of Arab governments and I think that Europe should respond in kind.

At 2/20/2006 02:48:00 AM, Blogger Ragg said...

Dont worry

my take on this

Arla is a food giant with many partners
they probaly allready own some facilityes in isreal and can make and sell Arla products under another brand.

so saying that they dont export to isreal they can do without lying, they just move around it ;)

At 2/20/2006 03:15:00 AM, Anonymous Elora said...

In the Danish news this morning, several political parties insist that no boycott-contracts can be permitted (not only from a moral standpoint, but also a WTO one; boycott contracts are against WTO principles which Saudi Arabia, new member of WTO, really should know).

The organization Danish Industry agrees, but point out that it has to be an EU initiative, as well as a WTO one. If Denmark goes alone on this, Danish companies will have trouble surviving.

At 2/20/2006 03:16:00 AM, Anonymous Kiki said...

Arla do have an export to Israel and co work in trade. When shipping goods to the middle east, Arla do have to sign a statement, that the ship with goods from Arla doesn’t go into Israeli harbour, and that the goods onboard doesn’t contain ingredients from Israel. Guess the middle east people are affright the ship might be loaded with explosives or other nasty things, if it goes to Israeli harbour before the final destina-tion, and that the Lurpak perhaps is poisoned with something terrible. Also I guess that every country dealing in the Middle East have to do the same?


At 2/20/2006 03:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anders, Denmark said...

Well, Arla is a busyness, so if they could trade in freedom of speech for money, they would.
Along with 90% of other busynesses no matter what religion.

At 2/20/2006 04:20:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Kiki, does the article state that the goods which are meant for other countries but Israel should not pass an Israeli harbour? Or does it state that there should be no products at all entering an Israeli harbour (even when it is meant for Israel)?

At 2/20/2006 05:28:00 AM, Blogger Blogspat said...

1. Don't mix things up - as already said earlier these contracts have nothing to do with the cartoons. They have been in place for many years.

2. How these contracts are designed can vary from agreement to agreement. As far as I know the contracts generally do not go as far as stating that companies cannot trade with Israel, but that any products that are traded with the contracting company doesn't have anything to do with Israel what so ever (e.g. transports, produce). This is can be due to some government influence (and in governmant contracts) or the conviction of the owners, but it is also done because many muslim county based companies are AFRAID of the negative implications it can have if anti-Israel elements find out that the company is dealing with Israel. They could lose everything.

This is why the contracts on a regular basis are not followed despite all parties in the deal know it. If they are caught the muslim based company has a way out.

At 2/20/2006 05:56:00 AM, Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

Arla refuses to have boycotted Israel. You can read about it on my homepage

At 2/20/2006 06:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you are right Cosmic Duck.

At 2/20/2006 06:34:00 AM, Blogger Cosmic Duck said...

I am. You can also read about it here on the homepage of the leading Danish business journal Borsen: http://www.borsen.dk/650.84853

At 2/20/2006 06:36:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

@Cosmic Duck, Is that so?

At 2/20/2006 06:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne

I’m at work, and therefore these late reply – sorry.

Israel / EU co-trades are growing, and EU today stands for 30% of the Israeli export and 40% of Israel import. As the only country out side EU, Israel is part of EU’s 6. Program for research and development. In December 2004 Israel went into the European so-called “neighbourhood politics”. This agreement means closer economical and political collaboration between Israel and EU.

Danish provisions in Israel are known for high quality, especial dairy and fish produce. Also there is a growing interest for ecologic produced provisions made in Denmark, and in the coming years we expect to export know-how in handling waste/waste-to-energy.

There have always been tight bonds between Israel and Denmark, guess perhaps one of the reasons are that when Denmark was occupied by Germany in WW2, Danish people helped Jews escape the Holocaust; as far as I remember, some 6.000 – 7.000 Jews were saved, unfortunately app. 100 were not, but it wasn’t easy to smuggle people out the country, when there was Germans all over the place. I think you could have the exact figures from the Israeli-Danish friendship union, and also information on other is-sues, if you want. Don’t ask the Prim minister in Iran, as he think we made the whole Holocaust up in some conspiracy….!

If you want to check out import and export key figures between all mid east countries incl. Israel and Denmark, check this link: http://www.um.dk/da/menu/Eksportraadgivning/MarkedsOgBrancheinformation/EksportenITal/Januar-november+2005/Mellemøsten/

It seems to be more common than not, that European countries (don’t know if it is the same outside EU) signs wired trade agree-ments not to trade with Israel, which is morally wrong, but Muslim countries knows very well, that nobody keeps these agreements. Don’t know the details, but think we will see some examples the coming days.


At 2/20/2006 06:51:00 AM, Blogger Cosmic Duck said...


Yes. The link, I gave to Borsen, says: "Arla er gået i en modoffensiv oven på Jyllands-Postens beskyldninger om, at mejerivirksomheden er en af flere, der boykotter Israel for at tækkes Mellemøsten". This translates to:

"Arla has gone into a counter offensive after the Jyllandsposten accusations that the dairy producer is one among several which boycott Israel to vie ME countries".

At 2/20/2006 06:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The normal is as I said a clause in the LC for documentation from the shipping company.
And yes the companies that I have worked in Denmark have never respected this agreement not to deal with Israel.

Frankly speaking way should we not deal with Israel?

It’s clearly illegal to force a selling part to boycott a country to get an order and there would be know possibility to bring this to the court of law.

It’s a bit like all the Muslim support to the Palestinians just bushtit. Europe and USA hare actually a lot more supportive to the Palestinian nation then those so called Islamic brothers.

just me

At 2/20/2006 07:22:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

The Brussels Journal has a piece up that mentions this, plus some stuff about Egypt.

At 2/20/2006 09:52:00 AM, Anonymous Jokerman said...

its absurd isnt it? Why does the ship have to go into an israeli port to be poisoned? if we assume Israel can do such a thing to begin with...its so childish!
Cant they poison it while the ship is on its way without entering an israeli port?? for goodness sake these people have lost it for good.
Even in the L/Cs they stipulate that the goods are not to be shipped on Israeli vessels!! ihope the WTO changes this stupid practice.

At 2/20/2006 10:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add this nonsense to the ongoing problem. I am not joking about the West eventually snapping. At some point people in the west will get sick of people trying to control their economy through boycotts etc. and destroy yours. The only real leverage the Arab world has on the rest of the world is oil, and that leverage is temporary.

I may be completly wrong about this but it appears to me that the Arab world likes their fight to be small scale and last their lifetime. The west, throughout history, seems to let things build up until they eventually decide to destroy the enemy. When they do destroy them it is total war, not a few bombs and boycotts. Hopefully it won't happen, but I wouldn't be suprised to see the tension snap the peace.


At 2/20/2006 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess you made a rumor and now believed it
any one has a prove for that officially? no

one other thing, ever heard of the customer rights?
so if arabs don't want to buy danish products why get mad? if people need lurpak so much they will find solutions to get around the boycott for sure.

and why does denmark have to worry about the arabic market? they have the rest of the world plus israel, don't they?
let denmark choose to boycott the arabic market and not sell to arabs, doesn't this sound cool? heh

At 2/20/2006 10:22:00 AM, Blogger Far North said...

The piece in Brussel Journal is actually very good.

It describes some of the positive outcome in Denmark :

".... the cartoon affair has led to a conflict between moderate and extremist Muslims in Denmark. Until recently the Danish imams claimed to be the only representatives of Danish Muslims, but a growing number of moderate Muslims is stepping forward to say that the imams do not represent them."

Now that is good news. Sandmonkeys cartoon about muslims demonstrating in favour of free speech etc. may not be totally out of line :-)

On the other side the Danish Church is trying to help :

"This week a delegation of church leaders travelled to the Middle East to meet Muslim religious leaders. The latter, however, continue to insist that the Danish government apologize first before there can be a normalization of relations."

Unfortunately the ME religous leaders insist that the danish goverment apologizes, so they have not understood how press and goverment is separated.

At 2/20/2006 10:35:00 PM, Blogger Alexis said...

I think the cartoons were merely a pretext planned out months if not years in advance. It's really about forcing Denmark to completely knuckle under to Islamist demands.

I also suspect far worse is planned in the future by Islamists, for they probably targeted Denmark because it's a small European nation they thought they could force into surrender. If the cartoons weren't printed, they would have just found something else to get upset about.

So, forcing a Danish company to boycott Israel has everything to do with the "cartoon jihad". It's about freebasing on power.

At 2/22/2006 02:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I happen to agree with some comments here but disagree with others.

The idea of arab countries "scared" that Israel would poison food destined for arab countries (or put explosives etc) is funny enough to make a person cry. It's too ridiculous for words. Mind u, I recall an imam (in australia, I think) visiting a muslim school and warning children against eating poisonous israeli bananas. This type of bizarre indoctrination is incredibly funny and ultimately extremely dangerous.

I'm an Israeli so I'm not exactly happy about companies boycotting Israel in order to trade with the Arab world. They're taking the easy way out. Then again, it's hard for a company to do the honourable thing. Google, for example, bowed down to China. They should have told China that they'd rather have no business in China than to have dirty business there.

So if a company observes a minor semi-boycot, trading with Israel but not using Israeli ports or ingredients in its trade with Arab countries, I don't feel they need to be criticized. They've found a sort of 'middle path'. They still deal with Israel, they just don't involve Israel in their dealings with the Arab world. It's not the best, but I think it's good enough.



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