Boycott hurts local workers most, the US ambassador said

Boycott hurts local workers most, the US ambassador said

Boycott hurts local workers most, the US ambassador saidAny boycott movement aimed against American-affiliated companies operating in Malaysia would only injure workers there, not Americans or Israelis.

However, Edgard D. Kagan, the recently appointed US ambassador to Malaysia, stated that individuals had the right to express their opinions through boycotts and protests peacefully.

“I am very grateful that boycotts have been peaceful. I think it is unfortunate because ultimately, as I’m sure all of you know, the two main outlets that are being boycotted are, in both cases, one is owned by Malaysians, one is owned by Saudis.

“The people who are suffering as a result are the Malaysian employees. There may be some symbolic satisfaction in doing it, but ultimately the people that it really hurts, it’s not Israel and it’s not really the United States,” he said.

Kagan was speaking to reporters today at the US ambassador’s house in Kuala Lumpur, following a roundtable discussion with Malaysian media, according to the New Straits Times.

In Malaysia, McDonald’s and Starbucks have become the main targets of boycotts in response to Israel’s ruthless reprisal for the strikes on nearby communities on October 7, 2023.


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Reporters also asked Kagan about his thoughts on the US embassy being the core of the anti-Israel demonstrations.

“I would be lying if I said we were thrilled that people saw us as the way to express dissatisfaction with Israel,” he said, adding that it is the practical reality and reflects the sense that many Malaysians share.

He did, however, note that the US has a history of defending Malaysians’ right to peaceful protest.

“And we’ve done that when it was much less popular to take those views than it is now. I think we’ve done that because we see this consistent with our value. Thus, we wholeheartedly endorse the freedom to peacefully protest.

“Obviously our preference would be that they not see us as the way to express dissatisfaction with Israel because obviously we are not Israel. But we also understand that that’s the reality that we’re operating in.

“So I think in that sense it’s unfortunate. On the other hand, we respect the right of people to protest peacefully and express their views in whatever way they want to.

“And again, we have long been on record supporting that in Malaysia. We’ve been very consistent in doing that because we think that this is the best way for any society to express dissenting views,” he said.

Kagan expressed their gratitude to the government and police for their professionalism in guaranteeing the safety of their people and facilities.

The ‘Piket Demi Palestin’ (Picket for Palestine) protestors erected tents close to the US embassy in Jalan Tun Razak in December of last year in response to the US government’s blocking of UN efforts to press for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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