Middle East Politics Affect Even Apple, Israeli-Built Parts Raise Arabic Ire

Technology collides with politics all the time, but most of those politics involve regulatory issues. Efforts to make hardware manufacturers include hardware copy protection in all computers, for instance, were attempts at a political solution for piracy concerns from content owners. Certainly the antitrust pursuit against Microsoft by the Clinton administration, and the eventual sweetheart deal worked out by the current DoJ were also politically involved, if perhaps even politically motivated. There are constantly efforts to have this or that technology declared "standards" in both the political and private world, with political machinations in both areas being the norm, and not the exception.

Another type of political controversy has entangled Apple, though the company may not be directly involved. At issue is an Arab League boycott of all things Israel, and what are reportedly Israeli-made batteries in Apple produced Macs being sold in the Middle East. According to a report from the New York Post, a worker in Bahrain found one of these batteries when working on his Mac, and then filed a formal protest with "authorities" based on the Arab League boycott. From that move, according to the report, the local Apple Distributor began pulling the batteries out of Macs and replacing them with non-Israeli batteries, and offering to do so for anyone bringing their Macs in to the distributoris (Apple Centre) shop. The Postis report explains how this involves Apple more directly:

Apple Computer is sidestepping a sticky question of whether itis breaking U.S. law.

The problem came up yesterday when reports surfaced in the Middle East that Apple is purging Israeli-made components and parts from its computers sold to the Arab world.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, itis a felony if an American company engages in foreign political boycotts, including the Arab Leagueis long-running boycott of all Israeli goods and services.

Apple said it has nothing to with its Arab distributor, which is making headlines in Bahrain by purging Israeli parts from computers sold there to Arabs.

The swap is being conducted not by Apple, but by an independent party, making Appleis role non-existent. Read the full story at the New York Post for more information.