Indonesian VP Rejects Calls for Boycott of U.S.

JAKARTA (Reuters) -
Indonesia boycott
Israeli and American flags are burned outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta Friday, during a protest to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital. (Reuters/Beawiharta)

Indonesia’s vice president said on Tuesday that calls for a boycott of U.S. goods over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel were misguided – not least because of the country’s reliance on U.S. technology.

There have been a series of protests in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country since Trump’s controversial move this month. At a rally of about 80,000 people on Sunday, the Indonesian Ulema Council, a body of Muslim clerics, called for a boycott of U.S. and Israeli products if Pres. Trump did not revoke his action.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla told reporters that Indonesia was trying to put pressure on Washington through the United Nations and it was not even practical to stop using American products.

“Do not be emotional… do we dare to boycott iPhones, stop using Google. Can (you) live without them?” he asked.

Kalla also noted that other American goods such as specialized petroleum equipment were vital in oil-producing Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

There have been a series of protests in Indonesia over the issue of Yerushalayim, including some where hardliners burned U.S. and Israeli flags.

Asked about how to proceed after Washington vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for the U.S. declaration to be withdrawn, Kalla said that dialogue was the only solution.

Indonesia enjoys a trade surplus with the United States and is one of 16 countries that the Trump administration has said could be investigated for possible trade abuses.