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Jordan: Made in Israel

Made in Israel gowns create controversity in Jordan's Hashemite University

Arab countries imposed a total ban on the import of Israel-made products after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Although the boycott is no longer strictly enforced (except in Syria and Lebanon), seeing the Made in Israel label on products in local markets continues to raise alarm and questions. Jordanian Osama Al Romoh (Ar) opens a can of worms when he learns that the Hashemite University is selling its students graduation robes packed in bags which have Made in Israel labels stamped all over them.

He writes about his feelings of shock:

لابد أن صدمة الطلاب عند ذهابهم لشراء أثواب التخريج واكتشافهم أن عبارة “صُنعَ في إسرائيل” مطبوعة على أكياس الأثواب من الخارج أكبر بكثير من صدمتي عندما علمتُ بالأمر، فأنا لا أطيق قراءة كلمة “إسرائيل”، كيف إذاً بمُنتجٍ صُنعَ في إسرائيل..؟!
There is no doubt that the shock of the students, who went to collect their graduation gowns, at seeing the label Made in Israel printed on the bags for the gowns was much bigger than mine when I heard about it! I cannot stand reading the word Israel let alone see a product made there!

Shock turns to submission when Al Romoh admits that there are Israel-made products readily available in Jordan and that consumers have a choice to make:

هذه ليست المرة الاولى التي يتفاجئ بها المواطنون في الأردن بوجود منتجات إسرائيلية تُباع بكل وقاحة بشكل علني في الأسواق المحلية، فمثلاً هناك بعض أصناف الفاكهة التي تُباع سواءً في بعض أسواق المنتجات الغذائية الكبرى أو في “بسطات” الشوارع وعلى كل حبّة فاكهة منها ورقة لاصقة بإسم “صُنِعَ في إسرائيل”، وكما أوضح وزير الزراعة الأردني سعيد المصري بأن المنتجات الإسرائيلية مكتوب عليها “صنع في إسرائيل” وعلى المستهلك أن يختار إما الشراء أو المقاطعة.
This is not the first time that Jordanians are shocked with the presence of Israeli products being sold without shame and openly in local markets. For instance, there are certain types of fruit that are sold in large supermarket chains and even by street vendors, where each single fruit has a sticker with “Made in Israel” printed on it. Jordan's Minister of Agriculture had clarified that all Israeli products have the label Made in Israel on them and consumers will have to choose whether to buy or boycott those products.

A peace treaty exists between Jordan and Israel, adds the blogger:

حسناً، إذا سلّمنا بأن معاهدة السلام الأردنية الإسرائيلية عام 1994 واتفاقية التعاون التجاري بين البلدين سببان وجيهان لوجود سلع إسرائيلية في الأردن، لا يمكن أبداً أن يصل هذا إلى حد بيع “طلاب جامعيين” أثواب إسرائيلية، فانا أراه ترويضاً بطيئاً للجيل الجديد كي يقبل بواقعٍ مفروض علينا، والأعجب من ذلك، أن الجامعة الهاشمية معروف عنها رفضها للتطبيع فما سبب هذا الإستهتار بالطالب؟

Fine, if we submitted ourselves to that fact that the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord of 1994 and the commercial cooperation agreement between the two countries is a good enough reason for the presence of Israeli products in Jordan, we cannot possibly accept that Israeli gowns are enforced on university students as if to train the new generations to accept a situation enforced upon it. What is more surprising is that the Hashemite University is renowned for its anti-normalisation (with Israel) stance so what is the explanation for making fools of the students?

Al Romoh continues:

أحد المسؤولين صرّح بأن أثواب التخريج أو “أرواب التخريج” تم صناعتها بمدينة الحسن في إربد بالأردن وأن الأكياس التي وُضعت فيها هي من صُنع إسرائيل، وهذا يفتح باباً أكثر إثارة، هل الأردن عاجز عن صُنع “أكياس”..؟

One of the officials issued a statement saying that the graduation robes were made at Al Hassan Town in Irbid, Jordan, and that the bags they were placed in were made in Israel. This opens a more controversial issue: Is Jordan not capable of producing bags?

In conclusion, he writes:

أدعو جميع الطلاب لمقاطعة “أثواب التخرج” التي تبيعها الجامعة الهاشمية، وأن يشتروا أثواباً من الصناعة المحلية وإن لم يوجد فصناعة سورية، وأن يضعوا على الثوب وشاحاً مكتوب عليه “لم يُصنع في إسرائيل”، عسى أن تكون نهاية حياتهم الدراسية وبداية حياتهم العملية مُشرّفة.

I call upon all the students to boycott those graduation robes which are being sold by the Hashemite University and for them to buy locally made robes instead. If they couldn't find local ones, then they should buy Syrian made robes, and wear a sash which reads “Not Made in Israel” in order to ensure that they end their studies and usher in their working lives on an honourable note.

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