| When the West
Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland made decided to boycott Israeli goods,
they probably did not expect a counter-boycott of products made in their
region, yet that is exactly what happened.
The counter-boycott first started with small groups in
synagogues called 'Kiddish Clubs," where people enjoy a communion shot a
whisky or other beverage and snacks after prayer services. When Boycott Watch
first heard of this, our reaction was this would cost Dumbarton distillers,
namely the Chivas Brothers, the makers of Chivas Regal, sales of about twenty
bottles a week nationally. That of course is not enough to have a significant
sales impact, so we ignored the story. One week later, however, the
counter-boycott has gone viral when in response, Jews started boycotting far
more than just Chivas. The counter-boycott now includes all brands of Scotch,
making the Jewish boycott of Scotch significant for several reasons.
Most notably, Jews comprise a significant segment of the
scotch market. The current craze for high-end scotch, the type make in regions
including West Dunbartonshire, was largely fueled by Jews, especially within
synagogue Kiddish Clubs and at other social events, resulting in hundreds of
bottles of scotch purchased by Jews every week. In social circles, holidays and
weddings, for example, many Jews like to prefer their guests something beyond
the ordinary, and high-end scotch, sometimes costing $60 a bottle or more,
easily fits the bill.
"The West Dunbartonshire Council claims their boycott
won't affect many products and they will stick to their boycott despite the
counter-boycott" said Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch. "The
information we have indicates the counter-boycott will significantly hurt sales
of scotch whisky from West Dunbartonshire and beyond. It's the perfect storm of
boycotts - a government entity tries to make a political statement and bites
its own head off in the process.
"Let's face it, the West Dunbartonshire Council called
for a boycott in support of Muslins who don't drink alcohol per religious
dictates, and called for a boycott of some of their best customers. Boycotting
your best customers is beyond stupid, it is business suicide. We have already
seen top-shelf Kentucky bourbon being served instead of scotch and several
reports nationally backing that up."
While Boycott Watch expects to either see the boycott
cancelled or the officials voted out of office once the distillers complain
about a drop in sales, the West Dunbartonshire Council and other government
agencies in the UK will surely have to make significant Israeli product
purchases to win back Jewish customers, but it is difficult to recover from
earning a self-imposed bad name.