Israel threatens to sue Coca-Cola over Palestinian partner supporting BDS
Coca Cola's Palestinian subsidiary expressed support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. (Shutterstock)
Click here to add Benjamin Netanyahu as an alert
Disable alert for Benjamin Netanyahu,
Click here to add Coca-Cola as an alert
Disable alert for Coca-Cola,
Click here to add Divestment and Sanctions as an alert
Disable alert for Divestment and Sanctions,
Click here to add Israel Law Center as an alert
Disable alert for Israel Law Center,
Click here to add Jericho as an alert
Disable alert for Jericho,
Click here to add Marissa Newman as an alert
Disable alert for Marissa Newman,
Click here to add Mukhtar Kent as an alert
Disable alert for Mukhtar Kent,
Click here to add Orlando Sentinel as an alert
Disable alert for Orlando Sentinel,
Click here to add Palestinian National Beverage Company as an alert
Disable alert for Palestinian National Bever ...,
Click here to add Partner as an alert
Disable alert for Partner,
Click here to add Ramallah as an alert
Disable alert for Ramallah,
Click here to add Robert Tolchin as an alert
Disable alert for Robert Tolchin,
Click here to add Sentinel as an alert
Disable alert for Sentinel,
Click here to add Stéphane Richard as an alert
Disable alert for Stéphane Richard,
Click here to add The Coca-Cola Company as an alert
Disable alert for The Coca-Cola Company,
Click here to add Tulkarem as an alert
Disable alert for Tulkarem,
Click here to add US government as an alert
Disable alert for US government,
Click here to add Zahi Khouri as an alert
Disable alert for Zahi Khouri
An Israeli advocacy group on Monday threatened legal action against Coca-Cola if it did not sever ties with its Palestinian subsidiary, whose owner has expressed support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Shurat HaDin — the Israel Law Center said comments by Palestinian-American businessman Zahi Khouri backing a boycott of Israeli companies violates the soda company’s own internal policies.
“This letter is a warning to the Coca-Cola Company that it should rescind its franchise agreement with the Palestinian National Beverage Company, headed by Zahi Khouri, who openly advocates for BDS against Israel,” said a letter from the Israel Law Center to Mr. Mukhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola.
Khouri penned two op-eds in favor of the BDS movement — one in the Orlando Sentinel in 2014, and another in The Hill in May. In his Sentinel column, Khouri wrote that “the nonviolent efforts of BDS advocates make sense as a means to force Israel to recognize that the occupation is not cost-free.”
In its letter Monday, the Israel Law Center’s Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and US attorney Robert Tolchin argued that calls for a boycott violate the Anti-Racism Convention, as well as various state and federal laws. It also represents a breach of Coca-Cola Company’s own Code of Business Conduct, it claimed. The company’s ethics code, which the law center said binds its foreign subsidiaries as well, states, “The Company also must abide by US anti-boycott laws that prohibit companies from participating in any international boycott not sanctioned by the US government.”
The BDS movement “is inherently racist, anti-Semitic, biased and prejudicial and has an extremist agenda that unfairly singles out Israel and Jews. The BDS movement’s goal is solely the destruction of the State of Israel and its Jewish community. It masquerades as a human rights movement, but it is singularly fixated on Israel and Jews and ignores egregious human rights abuses that do not feed its anti-Israel agenda,” the Israeli NGO representatives wrote.
The Israeli group also referenced a recent firestorm that erupted when Orange telecom CEO Stephane Richard indicated his company would sever its ties with its Israeli subsidiary, Partner. Richard apologized profusely for the move, condemned boycotts against the Jewish state, visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but remained evasive as to the telecom giant’s future investment plans in Israel.
“As the French telecom-services firm Orange recently made clear, the Coca-Cola Company should also make clear that it will not support any kind of boycott against Israel,” the letter said.
Khouri is the founder of the Ramallah-based Palestinian National Beverage Company, which produces and distributes Coca-Cola in the West Bank. The company was set to open a soda plant in the Gaza Strip in 2015, “which represents a $20 million investment and will create 120 direct jobs while supporting a further 1,200 indirect jobs throughout our value chain,” according to Coca-Cola’s website.
“Today, Coca-Cola employs 400 associates across three Palestinian bottling plants in Ramallah, Jericho and Tulkarem and seven distribution centers, and our business supports a further 4,000 Palestinian households through retail and across our supply-chain. We are proud to be the country’s third largest employer and fifth largest investor,” it said.
By Marissa Newman
- Will terror attacks damper Arabs' appetite for European holidays?
- So cool it's hot: Saudi Arabia's $3.2B HVACR market driven by construction boom
- US, EU protectionist policies may be a blessing in disguise for GCC suppliers
- Dubai to Doha: How far can you stretch your dirham?
- OPEC's poor history of compliance will make production cut deal a challenge
- Coca-Cola inaugurates $20M bottling plant in Gaza
- SodaStream says "Sorry Scarlett" as it leaves West Bank settlements high and dry
- Group of Indian investors plans legal action against National Bank of Fujairah
- Coca-Cola renews franchise agreement with Palestinian beverage company
- Rotana threatens to sue over Israeli business accusations