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Hamra protest singles out Starbucks
as supporter of Israel -
Research pays off with disturbing facts about pro-Zionist corporation

Hala Kilani
Daily Star (Lebanon)
22 June 2002

As part of their commitment to forge ahead with boycotting American-made products, activists organized a peaceful sit-in on the doorstep of Starbucks’ Hamra branch ­ protesting the coffee company’s moral and economic support for Israel.

More than 50 people demonstrated Friday evening in front of the American coffee franchise, with protesters distributing free Arabic coffee with cardamon while clattering the traditional cups around exclaiming: “Wake up and smell the Starbucks coffee facts.”

Protesters ­ from the Al-Saha Club, Act Now and the Union of Democratic Lebanese Youth, and including students and staff from the American University of Beirut ­ also distributed flyers explaining their discontent.
About 500 brochures depicting a swirl of steam wafting from a Starbucks coffee cup forming the shape of the Israeli flag were distributed by the protesters to passers-by.

Some 20 customers turned away from the American cafe upon reading the flyers.

“CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, is a Zionist advocate … He visited Israel as a guest of the Theodore Herzl mission, a group promoting the Zionist relationship to the land of Palestine,” the brochure said.

“Schultz regularly tours American campuses to promote Israeli apartheid … His work on behalf of Israel has earned him an award from an ultra-Zionist group called Aish Ha-Torah and praise from Israel’s Foreign Ministry,” it continued.

The flyers also alleged that last year Starbucks invested heavily in an Israeli fuel companies called Delek ­ forming a joint venture, Shalom Coffee Co., that now has some 20 branches across the Jewish state.

“Coming at the height of the Palestinian intifada when the Israeli economy was suffering greatly from the tremendous costs of putting down Palestinians, Starbucks’ investment enabled the poorly performing Israeli company to recoup,” said activist Kirsten Idriss.

“Starbucks even helped the Israeli company gain international assets by purchasing 234 American gas stations and convenience stores,” added Idriss, who said she spends on average six hours per day surfing the web in search of multinational companies which support Israel.

The boycott campaign against American goods, which has been picking up steam with a string of independent groups and activists, was born following Israel’s offensive against the West Bank in April.

Protesters hold US foreign policy in the region and Washington’s bias toward Israel as responsible for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s campaign against the Palestinian people.

In the midst of these boycott activities, Schultz threw oil on the fire and angered those independent groups when he said in a Seattle synagogue that “Palestinians aren’t doing their job, they’re not stopping terrorism.”

Since then, at least three Starbucks branches were targeted by boycott activists and the international corporation released a statement ­ published on their website ­ saying that “Schultz was expressing his personal opinion as a private citizen and not that of the corporation.”

But Robert MacGregor, an American who works in a company that produces paper towels and who happened to pass by the protest, told the activists that he worked against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
He maintained that in the United States whenever a CEO was found to support South Africa’s then-discriminatory regime, he was immediately fired. MacGregor said Arabs needed to be more active to ensure CEOs like Schultz would be similarly fired for supporting Israel.

Meanwhile, CNN reported in the Lou Dobbs show Wednesday that the boycott of US products in Saudi Arabia was working as exports to the kingdom have fallen by 40 percent since April.