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2006-02-21

Hans Skov Christensen. Director General
Hans Skov Christensen. Director General of The Confederation of Danish Industries (DI)
We Danes are still confused about whom to support and whom to boycott. First we were told to boycott big Danish-Swedish mega-corporation Arla because of the brutal ways in which it has oppressed the smaller dairies. Then we were told to support Arla in order to re-compensate what they lost, when their Saudi masters found themselves an easy target.

Today, confusion is world-wide. It turns out that European companies - including Danish Industries like Arla - have made a pact with the Devil

Many of these companies have been required to sign a contract, promising to boycott Israel. Spokesperson for Arla, Astrid Gade Nielsen, confirms to Jyllands-Posten (in Danish) that to this day they routinely put their signature to demands neither to transport goods via Israeli ports nor to use Israeli raw materials.
Arla
And who are you going to forsake???

Today's cartoon by Rasmus Sand Høyer.

When we are an international enterprise, dealing across country borders, religions and different cultures, we have to show a capaciousness.


However many of the companies claim they in practice still maintain an export to Israel. From Arla's home page:

Several media have incorrectly reported that Arla is boycotting Israel. In fact, Arla exports milk powder, cheese and butter to Israel to the value of DKK 200 million each year.

“We have never boycotted Israel, and we have never agreed to do so,” says Deputy Managing Director Andreas Lundby, Arla Foods. “On the contrary, our trade with Israel is growing.”

With regard to exports to Saudi Arabia, Arla declares that its products are Danish and not produced in Israel or contain ingredients from Israel in a so-called certificate of origin.


On another page Arla name their contact in Israel: "R.A.M. International Ltd., Beit Ofer 5, Nahum Hafzadi Street, P.O.B. 34414, Jerusalem 91342, Israel"

Confused? Well it is confusing to make contracts with the Devil - or with religious zealots. CBS, one of the American media, who are too scared to show the 12 cartoons, made a special about Denmark.

Michelle Malkin calls it a "blame-the-victim smear attack" and published a letter from Denmark. For this once, Malkin temporarily opened her blog for comments.

Comments:
A pact with the devil !!

I don't think this is a 'fair' way of describing the terms under which Danish international / multinational companies are acting here. As anyone working in a company that operates internationally knows, in order for you to have a successful business relationship both parties must mutually respect each other.

This does not mean that you sacrifices your own morale or ethic values (freedom of speech etc) for profit, but it means that you must respect and understand the people you interrelates with.

I think this is what companies like Arla are trying to do. And I think that if we do not have any relationships and common interests between the parties (the west and the islamic world), we will not have any reason to learn from the past weeks turmoil - and no real interests in stopping it from escalating further.

And by the way - Arla has never boycotted Isreal, and according to their spokespersons never signed any contracts that says they must - the wording in the contracts 'just' says that the goods that is brought into an arabic country is not shipped via Isreal and does not contain any components or ingredients manufactured in Isreal.

It seems that this 'rumour' was spread by a newspaper that wanted a story (and didn't care to do the research). Motive: selling papers, adding fuel to the fire, ... ??
 
The way I read the story, they have promised not to buy Israeli goods, which is a boycott. But they don't mind selling their own stuff to Israel to get a little profit. The details are unclear, of course, since it's hard to please both sides.

Another reason for calling it "a pact with the Devil" was that these companies knew from the beginning that Saudi Arabia was a dictatorship, where dissenters are thrown in jail, homosexuals are flogged, jailed or executed and women have no rights.

And yet they agreed to make business here, knowing full well that one day their masters would sacrifice them.
 
Hi Atheist

I dont know whether you read Danish (but I presume that you do). On Arlafoods webpage you can see the official statement from the company about the contracts that are signed with arabic countries (http://www.arlafoods.dk/appl/HJ/HJ201AFD/HJ201D01.NSF/O/D473BB2EF4AA5C3FC125711B003BB9F2). From this it is clear that Arla is in no way boycotting Isreal. What the company does is that they insure the arabic customer that the goods that the arabs gets doesnt contain any ingredients etc from Isreal. Goods to any other country in the world can contain these ingredients! By the way this practice has been discussed three times (years ago) in the Danish Folketing (Parliament) without anyone raising critique about the practice.

As for the "Pact with the Devil". Well you may be right about the sacrificing part, and we can easily agree that the arabic view on human rights differ a lot (to the negative side) from the western, but I dont think it is fair to call a two sided business relationship that has lasted for 3-4 decades anything like this ! That is just my opinion.
 
> "I dont know whether you read Danish (but I presume that you do)."

I do, but anyway the text is translated on this page.

Here's the text from Arla's English page:

"Arla has never boycotted Israel

Several media have incorrectly reported that Arla is boycotting Israel. In fact, Arla exports milk powder, cheese and butter to Israel to the value of DKK 200 million each year.

“We have never boycotted Israel, and we have never agreed to do so,” says Deputy Managing Director Andreas Lundby, Arla Foods. “On the contrary, our trade with Israel is growing.”

With regard to exports to Saudi Arabia, Arla declares that its products are Danish and not produced in Israel or contain ingredients from Israel in a so-called certificate of origin.

"

The text is very similar to the one I included in my original post, so it's not as if I'm denying there's two sides to the story. But I'll still maintain that if Arla promise not to buy from Israel, then they are boycotting Israel, and if Arla sells to Israel (in spite of their boycott) it only proves that Arla love money.

Notice: I see that my old link (http://www.just-food.com/news_detail.asp?art=63478) has become "subscriber's only", so I'll have to update the old post and replace link and text with Arla's. This is not to cover my tracks. Honestly ;-)
 
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