Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lebanon Controversy over Starbucks boycott

Shultz is definitely a "Zionist" since he has a Zionist name, right? And it says Starbucks supports Zionism right there in Ziopedia. And Ziopedia wouldn't lie, right? Just like the Protocols of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a real document, just as it says in Ziopedia, right? Jew Zionist Shultz is suspected of the Zionist crime of supporting a hospital charity. He denies it, but surely the inquisitors can get him to confess!
The truth and the rumors behind the targeting of the lattes
Maya Khourchid, NOW Staff , March 25, 2009
Starbucks has become a worldwide cause célèbre for protestors who object to its globalised ubiquity. But in Lebanon Starbucks has been the focus of protests for other reasons entirely. The coffee chain has, especially since the conflict in Gaza, been singled out by anti-Israeli activists for protests which have seen gruesome posters waved, Stars of David taped to the windows and sometimes the café itself shut for the day.  The Starbucks in Beirut's Hamra district, near several universities, has been targeted often, most recently last week.
So, do the protestors have a point? Of all the international companies in Lebanon, Starbucks has come in for the most flak recently. Do the protestors have a legitimate grievance with a company that gives money to a country with which Lebanon is at war? Or are they picking on an easy target, already unpopular with left-leaning, anti-globalisation types? Answering this question reveals Zionist links to the company's founder, a grey area between the the company and its CEO and many unverified rumors.
What exactly is the protestors' problem with Starbucks? "It is the funds that they send to the Zionist state," says Bahaa Al Kayyali, a 21 year-old political science student at AUB involved with the grassroots Lebanese Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel. "And the support of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)," he goes on, adding that, "most of the people who protest outside Starbucks believe it gives money to the Israeli state, and IDF, for sure."
However, Starbucks denies this, outright. Its 'Facts about Starbucks in the Middle East' section on its website denies providing financial support to the Israeli government and the IDF, although support to Israeli charities is not specifically denied.
But there are protestors who, even if they do not accuse the company of funding Israel directly, have a grievance with the company through its director. "Our boycott is in general, not only to Starbucks, in general to the companies we find out are in a direct or indirect way supporting the state of Israel…Starbucks itself because the director and co-owner Howard Schultz [is] a known Zionist and open speaker in support of the state of Israel" says Arabi Al-Andari, a member of the Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth, who have protested Starbucks recently, since 1997.
Howard Schultz, the Jewish 55-year-old founder and CEO, of Starbucks has been called a Zionist by protest groups and boycott campaigns in Lebanon and globally. As with many ideological battles, the internet has been a breeding ground for debate and accusations on both sides. It can be difficult to tell justifiable grievance from fabrication.
A fake letter that first appeared on anti-Israeli website Ziopedia in July 2006, in which Schultz thanks Starbucks customers without whom he "wouldn't be able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist attacks and keep reminding every Jew in America, to defend Israel at any cost," is often quoted. In the first month the letter went up, it was read by over 100,000 people on the Ziopedia site alone. 
But the letter was widely misunderstood; it had been written as a satirical piece by Ziopedia editor Andrew Winkler. "However all the statements I made in that letter about donations, sponsorships, political views etc. – are based on factual Howard Schultz actions and quotes as a half hour of 'Googling' will easily confirm to anyone interested," said a note added later by Winkler.
But although Googling turns up many reasons to boycott the company, few are verifiable.  The Innovative Minds website's 'Boycott Israel Campaign' asserts that Starbucks sponsored the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem's annual 'Bowl 4 Israel' fundraiser in 2002 and 2003. But the Committee maintains no 'Bowl 4 Israel' events were held in those years.... 

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