PBNU Chairman on Pro-Israel Products Boycott: ‘Necessary, but Not Enough’

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU) Yahya Cholil Staquf or Gus Yahya believed that boycotting Israel-affiliated products is necessary, but it’s not enough to liberate Palestinian people.

The call for a boycott has become more widespread after the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) released a fatwa (Islamic ruling) that recommends Muslims avoid transactions with Israel-affiliated products.

“I believe it’s quite necessary to gain public attention and I, too, have started [to boycott],” he said in a press conference in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

However, Gus Yahya added that boycotting must be conducted strategically.

“Boycotting is critical to gain public attention, but think about it,” he said. “Be reasonable, be realistic, don’t just hope but do [boycott] sincerely to achieve the solution.”

MUI’s newest fatwa No. 83 of 2023 on the law of supporting the Palestinian cause also stressed that supporting Israel’s aggression to Palestine is haram (forbidden in Islamic law). The fatwa was adopted on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023.

The council noted that support to Israel could be conducted directly or indirectly. One of which was financial support, from companies affiliating with Israel or Zionism to purchasing products that have explicitly expressed their support to Israel.

When asked if he endorsed the fatwa, Gus Yahya stated “I support it, but it’s not enough. We will talk about what steps to take after that.”

The chairman of the Islamic organization then stressed in the  R20 International Summit of Religious Authorities (ISORA) press conference about the critical role of religious authorities in solving the conflict in the Middle East, including Gaza.

PBNU has invited religious authorities from various countries to attend ISORA which is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 27 to achieve that objective.


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