January 30, 2009

Startups and politics don't mix well

Checking my TweetDeck,  I discovered the strange story of OurielOhayon, an Israeli blogger. This morning, he received a email from SiSense, an Israeli startup he covers. A customer explained them that he would not buy any product from the company because "his conscience would not let him". 

It's deeply stupid. I don't understand the link between an Israeli-based company which sells software products all over the world and the foreign policy or the political situation of this country. It is not a company active in military products or services, SiSense offers business intelligence applications. Suggesting that because the headquarters of SiSense are in Israel, its management is co-responsible for the Israeli government policy is very odd indeed.

Are there many nations, except maybe Switzerland, which at least one time in history have not been involved in armed conflict and disbutable policies? But I'm sure that you go on to buy American, German or Belgian products without any problem of conscience. 

The company itself responds rather eloquently on the customer's letter.

In fact, I feel myself stupid speaking about this incident, I guess I should just have ignored it. It is only that the investment climate is already difficult enough for startups, life is already complicated enough without this kind of narrow-minded reactions.

Sarah Godard


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Well, while I'm happy that my home country of Switzerland has not been fighting against other countries for a few hundred years now (we did have some minor civil wars), companies based here were (and probably are) involved in armed conflicts in many ways - by producing guns or, more importantly, storing money from conflicts in their bank accounts.

Nevertheless, you should of course buy products made and engineered in Switzerland, not only because they're good ;-), but also because, as Sarah rightly points out, because boycotting indiscriminately against companies from a certain country just because you disagree with the country's policy is downright stupid. Not only are the wrong ones hurt by this behaviour, the boycotters also suggest that they mix political with business decisions, which is hardly ever a clever move.

About the boycott of Israel, Naomi Klein has written:
"The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa"


. And if you are Belgian, what do you think of the mortgages by Dexia Israel for colonies in the occupied territories ?

http://khfuq.eu.interia.pl/zect.html autoaid breakdown service

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