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Malaysian boycotters hail win as FamilyMart says it does ‘not deal with Israel’

Malaysians boycotting Israel-affiliated firms have hailed another victory in their vote-with-their-feet campaign, after forcing the Japanese parent company of FamilyMart to end an agreement with an Israeli defence firm over fears of a damaging backlash in Muslim markets.

Malaysians began broadcasting calls to boycott FamilyMart after details emerged of a deal between Itochu Aviation, a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation which owns the convenience store chain, and Israeli defence company Elbit Systems Ltd.

Itochu took full ownership of FamilyMart in July 2020.

In a statement late Monday, FamilyMart Malaysia moved to head off the snowballing boycott calls, explaining the termination of the agreement between its parent company and the Israeli firm and reiterating its stance against “supporting violence or killing”.

“FamilyMart Malaysia does not contribute to, donate to, or deal with Israel,” the company, which has over 277 stores in Malaysia, said in the statement.

The statement was loudly applauded by those who have joined the boycott campaign.

“The boycott against FamilyMart’s parent company Itochu worked!” said Malaysian game developer and streamer Wan Hazmer on X in a post seen by almost half a million people as of Tuesday.

“So there’s no need to boycott FamilyMart any more.”

YouTube and TikTok content creator Muhammad Faris, meanwhile, said the Japanese company had clearly laid out its stance by naming Israel, calling it “a solid move”.

“They directly stated that they do not support Israel, unlike McDonald's, beating around the bush,” he said.

Others, however, noted that the agreement will only expire at the end of February, saying they will continue their boycott until that date.

“I will only step inside there in March,” a