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Indonesia clerics call to boycott US products over Jerusalem move

Tens of thousands of Indonesians protest against the US move and call for Trump to reverse his decision

Image Credit: REUTERS
ReutersProtesters at a rally in Jakarta yesterday condemn the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Gulf News

Jakarta: Muslim clerics called for a boycott of American products on Sunday in Indonesia’s largest protest against President Donald Trump’s recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Wearing white robes and carrying banners reading “Indonesia unites for Palestine” and “Save our Palestine,” an estimated 80,000 people rallied in the capital of the world’s largest Muslim nation in the 10th straight day of protests.

Anwar Abbas, a top cleric from the Indonesian Council of Ulema, read a petition calling on Indonesians to stop buying American products until Trump revoked his move.

“Don’t rely on their products,” he said, as the crowd including men, women and children responded by waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and shouting “boycott!”

Previous anti-American protests have unsuccessfully lobbied for a boycott of US goods.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said the protesters marched peacefully about 3 kilometres from the National Monument Park to the US embassy. Some local media reported the number of the demonstrators was double the police estimate.

About 20,000 security forces were deployed to secure the rally.

In the petition, the clerics urged Trump to immediately revoke his recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because it has hurt international justice, violated human rights of the Palestinians and undermined peace efforts.

It also demanded nations not follow the US in moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem and urged the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss Trump’s declaration.

The chairman of the clerics council, Ma’ruf Amin, said “let’s fight together with the government and the world for the freedom of Palestine through political, diplomatic and economic ways.”

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has strongly condemned Trump’s move as a violation of UN resolutions.

“This is my solidarity as a Muslim to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine ... the Al Aqsa Mosque, a historical mosque for Muslims, is there (in occupied Jerusalem),” said Hermawati, from the nearby city of Bogor, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Dressed mostly in white, the demonstrators urged the US to change its decision.

Indonesia’s religious affairs minister and Jakarta’s governor were among those at the protest site just a few metres from the US embassy, which was cordoned off behind coils of razor wire.

“Isn’t it the government’s job to work on the aspiration of the majority of Indonesians? And the government has tried its best so Palestine can achieve its rights and independence,” Religious Affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin told the crowd.

Indonesia has condemned President Donald Trump’s decision, with President Joko Widodo joining other world Islamic leaders last Wednesday in an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution which would find that any change to the status of Occupied Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed.

Indonesia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and has long been a strong supporter of Palestinian aspirations for a statehood.

Trump’s announcement overturned decades of US policy, and a long-standing international consensus, that the fate of Occupied Jerusalem be decided as a part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.

Trump’s announcement was seen as siding with the Israelis.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future promised state but peace prospects are nearly obsolete after the US move, which was widely condemned by the international community.