BOYCOTT ISRAEL – Starbucks the target of Arab boycott for its growing links to Israel + pro-israeli response


Across five Arab states a new and closely co-ordinated campaign to boycott American goods is being launched, with Starbucks coffee shops their primary target, but with Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Burger King outlets also on the list. In Beirut today, activists will be leafleting outside the city’s four Starbucks shops, detailing the pro-Israeli sentiments of its chief executive, Howard Shultz, and claiming he is “an active Zionist”. In 1998, Mr Shultz was awarded the “Israeli 50th Anniversary Tribute Award” from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha-Torah, which is strongly critical of Yasser Arafat and insists that the occupied Palestinian territories should be described only as “disputed”.

In a speech to Jewish Americans in Seattle earlier this year – at the height of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon’s, reoccupation of West Bank towns – Starbucks’ top man condemned Palestinian “inaction” and announced that “the Palestinians aren’t doing their job – they’re not stopping terrorism”. Gideon Meir, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, complimented Mr Shultz for helping American students to hear “Israeli presentations on the Middle East crisis”.

Starbucks operates in six other Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – but the boycott protesters, who include both Palestinians and Muslim groups at Ein Shams University in Egypt and the American University of Cairo, have a much wider list of companies they wish to punishfor allegedly supporting Israel, not only in the Middle East but in the United States itself. They include AOL Time Warner, Disney, Estée Lauder, Nokia, Revlon, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and IBM.

Students at Dubai University and in the Syrian capital, Damascus, are now also liaising over their boycott plans.“At first, it was very frustrating getting even the four boycott groups in Lebanon to work together,” Amira Solh, one of the Lebanese activists, says. “We had difficulty defining whether we should target American goods or those companies that have direct relations with Israel. We really only got going the first time the Israelis laid siege to Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah.

Lebanon boycotts all Israeli goods, so we started asking, ‘What about those companies which help Israel directly?‘ “Most Arab countries have fallen into a capitalist world that accepts American companies with close links to Israel. What we are now initiating is an economic war.

Burger King incurred Arab anger more than two years ago when it opened an outlet in an illegal Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank.The company initially decided to close the outlet and then – after pro-Israeli lobby pressure in America – apparently allowed it to reopen under a different franchise.

Nestlé has bought a control-ling share in the Israeli firm Osem, allowing Nestlé to sell its products in Israel, including Nescafé, Perrier, Carnation, Smarties and KitKat. It is a deal which, in the words of one Israeli journalist, “provides Osem with a worldwide distribution and advertising infrastructure“. In a recent report to investors, Osem-Nestlé an- nounced a four-monthly profit of $7.5m (£5.1m).

In Lebanon, Coca-Cola – which runs a plant in the country – has attempted to deflect Arab criticism by pointing out that it does not manufacture Coca-Cola in Israel and sells only imported bottles of its products, including Fanta and Sprite, in the Jewish state. In what was widely seen as an attempt to soften the mood of protesters, the Coca-Cola company in Lebanon has suddenly embarked on a programme of planting cedar trees – the national emblem – near the town of Jezzine, south of Beirut.

Starbucks, which has 4,709 retail locations around the world, has been trying to damp down its pro-Israeli image,
telling protesters who have written to the company that its chief executive, Howard Shultz, who is himself Jewish, “does not believe the terrorism (sic) is representative of the Palestinian people“. When he spoke recently to his local synagogue, Starbucks says, “Howard was speaking as a private citizen and did not interview with the media regarding this subject“. Another Starbucks response says the company “is deeply saddened by the current events (sic) in the Middle East” and quotes a statement by Mr Shultz. “I deeply regret that my speech in Seattle was misinterpreted as anti-Palestinian,” he says. “My position has always been pro-peace and for the two nations (sic) to co-exist peacefully.

Arab students believe the real fears of American executives are focused not on losses in the Arab world but on the danger that Arab protests will be picked up by Palestinian sympathisers in Europe and even in America itself. Mr Shultz, who does not appear to have condemned the building of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied land, spearheaded Starbucks’ entry into the Israeli market last year with its first two coffee shops – built through a joint venture company called Shalom Coffee Ltd – in Tel Aviv. By the end of this year, Starbucks plans to have a total of 20 coffee houses operating throughout Israel. Mr Shultz is a regular visitor to Israel and one of many personalities who have been brought to Jerusalem as a guest of the Theodor Herzl mission, at whose gala dinner is held an award ceremony of the Friends of Zion to honour those “who have played key roles in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel”.

Others who have travelled on the Theodor Herzl mission include Baroness Thatcher, Newt Gingrich, the US Speaker of the House, and the former US governor Tom Ridge – now the head of “Homeland Security”.


Starbucks International is having trouble maintaining its foothold in the Middle East as its Israeli partner; Delek Corporation begins negotiationswith the firm for the sale of its 80 percent stake in Starbucks Israel. In the event that Starbucks refuses to buy full ownership in the franchise,Delek will request that the parties restructure pricing arrangements,reported Globes. Under partnership agreements, Delek paid Starbucks $250,000 for the franchise rights of the coffee house in addition to a sixpercent turnover.

The company’s decision to sell its stake in the franchise followed the laying off of several Starbucks Israel personnel by Delek.The American coffee house chain is also facing hardship on the Arab front as a closely coordinated campaign to boycott American goods is already underway across the region. Activists have been seen leafleting outside Beirut’s four Starbucks locations, handing out information detailing the pro-Israel sentiments of the company’s Chief Executive, Howard Shultz. Protestors have also placed Nestle, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Burger King on their hit list. Established in the United States in 1992, Starbucks’ Middle East operations cover Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United ArabEmirates and Israel.

Ref: Innovated Mindes

For Pro-Israelis this is hurting…

It’s true that Starbucks closed its six outlets in Israel on April 1, 2003, citing “operational challenges” including Israel’s faltering economy. It’s also true that Starbucks continues to operate in other Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

What is not true, company officials insist, is the implication that the closures were due to political pressures or “taking sides” with Israel’s enemies.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, which has investigated the matter, the decision was indeed strictly business. “There is no evidence that more nefarious considerations contributed to this decision,” the organization concluded.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz — characterized by the New York Times as “a Jewish American who has long been supportive of Jewish organizations and causes in the United States and in Israel” — says the company will return to Israel in due course.

REf: Urbanlegends

5 Responses

  1. […] more about STARBUCKS and its zionism! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)George Galloway calling for a boycott of […]

  2. Well, I don’t buy Nestle, either. They killed babies; I don’t forgive people for killing babies.

    Burger King is of course best avoided for health reasons.

    But if these folks are going to try to boycott American culture in general, I think they might have a hard time convincing their compatriots (after all, even the French have Disney World).

  3. Haha, you guys are basically naming the best companies in the entire country LOL

    If you care about peace, you need to convince the people outside of Israel to accept that Israel is there and is not leaving, and to make peace with it.

    If you just care about harming Israel and not actually helping the nutty Palestinians, you should just keep trying to boycott and promote hate

  4. I’m extremely inspired together with your writing abilities and also with the structure on your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self? Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it is rare to look a great weblog like this one today..

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