Mecca Cola In Gaza 9

The Master Franchisee of Mecca Cola World Group In GAZA

The Master Franchisee of Mecca Cola World Group In GAZA, seen his Factory totally and Intentionally destroyed buy the Zionist Army
Despite the fact that it is a CIVIL FACILITY, not Involved in any political or military fact.
The losses are over 15.000.000 USD
Hasbuna Allah wa NE#MA AL WAKEEL


Destruction Totale de l’Unité de production de Mecca Cola A GAZA, une Installation Civile qui a été Ciblée volontairement par l’Armée Sioniste, L’usine a été Investie par les Chars, et essuyée des tirs d’armes lourdes et légères comme le montre la vidéo.
Les pertes dépassent les 15000.000 de USD


تدمير تام لمصنع إنتاج مكة كولا بغزة من دون سبب حيث أنها منشأة مدنية 
يقع مصنع مكة كولا بحي الشجاعية بغزة

حسبنا الله و نعم الوكيل

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Mecca Cola (Bilan)

Sa devise pourrait être « les chiens aboient, la caravane passe ». Car Tawfik Mathlouthi a gagné son pari. Fin 2002, cet homme d’affaires franco-tunisien, directeur de la station FM française Radio Méditerranée, décidait de lancer Mecca Cola, le premier soda « 100 % militant ». Son intuition – les consommateurs d’origine arabe ou musulmane, exaspérés par la partialité de la politique des États-Unis en Palestine et en Irak, ne demandent qu’à boycotter les produits américains, Coca-Cola en tête, à condition qu’on leur propose une alternative – s’est révélée être une vraie bonne idée. Avec une mise de départ ridicule (22 000 euros), et sans dépenser un centime en publicité, cet ancien journaliste a réussi sa percée sur le marché hexagonal.

Entre novembre 2002 et janvier 2004, sa société, basée en Seine-Saint-Denis, a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires de 3 577 713 euros ; 20 millions de litres de Mecca ont été vendus, au détail, dans les épiceries, les boucheries et les supérettes. L’entreprise espère quadrupler son chiffre d’affaires entre 2004 et 2005. Pourtant, la marque n’est toujours pas référencée en grande surface. « Le jour où les gens de la grande distribution comprendront qu’ils se font d’abord du tort à eux-mêmes et qu’ils lèsent leurs consommateurs, ils finiront peut-être par venir à nous, explique Mathlouthi. Mais je n’irai pas les chercher, j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter. »

Son produit a connu un succès foudroyant à l’étranger et est maintenant disponible dans une trentaine de pays : Émirats arabes unis, où s’est installé le siège de la division internationale de Mecca Cola, Bahreïn, Qatar, Koweït, Liban, Yémen, Égypte, Algérie, Sénégal… En Malaisie, Mecca Cola a été retenu comme partenaire officiel du dernier sommet de l’Organisation de la conférence islamique (OCI), à Putrajaya, en octobre dernier.

Au Maroc, en revanche, la marque est en procès avec son partenaire local. Ailleurs, au Kenya et au Pakistan notamment, Mecca Cola a dû affronter l’offensive de la contrefaçon. Un comble pour une société qui a elle-même réussi en détournant un concept ! Mathlouthi se refuse pour l’instant à communiquer ses chiffres à l’international, sa filiale la plus ancienne n’ayant pas plus de sept mois d’existence : « On en reparlera en septembre ou en octobre. » D’ici là, la firme aura occupé les écrans arabes, avec le lancement, dans les prochaines semaines, de spots publicitaires, notamment sur la chaîne qatarie Al-Jazira.

La réussite de Mecca Cola doit beaucoup à son slogan percutant – « Ne buvez plus idiot, buvez engagé ! » – et à une promesse figurant sur l’étiquette du soda – 20 % des bénéfices (après impôt) reversés à des oeuvres caritatives, dont 10 % à l’enfance palestinienne. La société a déjà financé quelques actions humanitaires, comme la prise en charge des frais d’hospitalisation du journaliste palestinien de l’AFP Dahlen Seif Eddine, ou celle, pendant un an, de la scolarité d’une centaine d’étudiantes orphelines yéménites.

Finalement, Mecca Cola France a décidé de reverser beaucoup plus que les 20 % prévus puisqu’elle va affecter en tout 150 000 euros (pour un résultat net de 282 000 euros) à des dons caritatifs en nature, via une fondation : 75 000 euros à un foyer pour femmes abandonnées, qui sera créé en région parisienne, et 75 000 euros aux Palestiniens, sous forme de kits scolaires (20 000) et de jeux publics gonflables destinés aux municipalités de Gaza et de Cisjordanie. «
Nous avons préféré donner en nature, car personne ne pourra nous accuser de sponsoriser le terrorisme, et Israël ne pourra pas bloquer notre argent, précise Mathlouthi. Pour ce qui est du choix des associations à qui nous adresserons les colis, nous pensons demander conseil à… l’ambassade de France. »

Un bon moyen de couper l’herbe sous le pied aux nombreux détracteurs irrités par la percée marketing et médiatique réussie en France par le promoteur du premier soda antisioniste… »

Samy Ghorba lL’intelligent du 25.04.2004

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Pourquoi le boycott commence à faire peur à Israël

L’affaire Sodastream a révélé la progression de la campagne de boycottage contre les colonies israéliennes installées dans les territoires occupés. Elle inquiète les autorités, mais satisfait un certain nombre d’ONG. Voici pourquoi.

La publicité est un instrument à double tranchant. En faisant appel à Scarlett Johansson pour promouvoir les mérites de sa machine à soda, la marque israélienne Sodastream n’avait sans doute pas imaginé la notoriété qu’elle allait offrir, bien au delà d’un petit cercle de militants, à la campagne de boycott dont elle fait l’objet. Sans la polémique née de l’incompatibilité de cette promotion avec le rôle d’ambassadrice de Scarlett Johansson pour l’ONG Oxfam, la présence de Sodastream, entreprise installée dans une colonie de Cisjordanie, comme sponsor au festival de BD d’Angoulème aurait-elle été remarquée, et dénoncée par une trentaine de dessinateurs?

L’affaire a fait tant de bruit que le secrétaire d’Etat américain y a fait allusion ce weekend: “Il y a une campagne croissante de délégitimation d’Israël. Les gens y sont très sensibles. On entend parler de boycottages et d’autres sortes de choses” a souligné John Kerry, lors d’un discours prononcé samedi. Furieux, ses détracteurs israéliens l’ont accusé de justifier le boycott international pour arracher à l’Etat hébreu des concessions dans les négociations avec les Palestiniens, qu’il a relancées en juillet 2013.

Scarlett Johansson, elle, a tenté de justifier son choix en expliquant que Sodastream “construit un pont pour la paix entre Israël et la Palestine en employant des salariés des deux pays”. Argument vite balayé par les partisans du boycott. Au temps de l’Apartheid, déjà, les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme rejetaient les tentatives des entreprises sud-africaines d’afficher une image bienveillante, celle de pourvoyeuse d’un emploi pour les Noirs. D’autant que l’ONG israélienne B’Tselem a démontré que des centaines d’hectares ont été saisis aux Palestiniens pour construire la colonie de Maale Adoumin où est basée Sodastream.

La campagne BDS qu’est-ce que c’est ?

L’affaire Sodastream témoigne d’une montée en puissance de la mobilisation internationale pour le boycott des produits issus des colonies israéliennes installées dans les territoires occupés. La campagne Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions (BDS) a été lancée en 2005 par quelque 170 ONG palestiniennes. Il s’agissait, pour ses initiateurs, de choisir une voie non violente pour faire pression sur l’Etat hébreu, l’amener à respecter les droits des Palestiniens.

L’Union européenne et la plupart des Etats dans le monde, considèrent comme illégale l’installation de citoyens israéliens au-delà de la Ligne verte. Selon la convention de Genève, “la Puissance occupante ne peut procéder à la déportation ou au transfert d’une partie de sa population civile dans le territoire occupé par elle”. Or de mois en mois, le nombre de mises en chantier dans les colonies ne cesse de grandir. “La politique israélienne envers les Palestiniens a été condamnée à de nombreuses reprises par la communauté internationale; pourtant, au lieu d’être sanctionné, l’Etat hébreu est soutenu par les grandes puissances”, avance Robert Kissous, de l’Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Un boycott économique qui s’élargit

Si la campagne BDS a eu peu d’écho jusqu’à ces derniers mois, récemment, elle engrange les succès. Jeudi dernier, le fonds souverain de la Norvège a banni deux entreprises ayant participé à la construction de colonies à Jérusalem-Est. Mi-janvier, Berlin a décidé de cesser de subventionner les sociétés high-tech israéliennes situées au-delà de la Ligne verte. Un peu plus tôt, le fonds de pension néerlandais PGGM a coupé ses liens avec cinq banques israéliennes, en raison de leurs activités dans les colonies. Et une société d’eau potable, également néerlandaise, a mis fin à sa collaboration avec la compagnie israélienne Mekorot.

En décembre c’est Bucarest qui a exigé que les travailleurs du bâtiment roumains envoyés en Israël ne soient pas employés dans les colonies, tandis qu’un site gouvernemental britannique avertissait les investisseurs des “conséquences potentielles sur leur réputation d’une implication dans les activités économiques et financières des colonies”.

Parallèlement, le 1er janvier, est entrée en vigueur une directive de l’UE prévoyant que les accords avec l’Etat hébreu – bénéficiaire de tarifs douaniers privilégiés- ne s’appliquent pas aux territoires occupés depuis 1967: la Cisjordanie, Jérusalem-Est, la bande de Gaza et le Golan. Pour enfoncer le clou, le représentant de Bruxelles pour le processus de paix Andreas Reinicke a prévenu début décembre que si les négociations de paix échouaient, la campagne pour un étiquetage distinctif des produits des colonies, désormais soutenue par la majorité des 28, contre seulement deux il y a deux ans, continuerait à progresser. Enfin l’Etat de New York vient de retirer une loi qui pénalisait le boycott.

La France, elle, ne s’incrit pas dans cette tendance. Plusieurs procès ont même visé ces dernières années des militants faisant la promotion du boycott de produits israéliens.

Aux pressions économiques, s’ajoute le boycott d’artistes, comme Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Vanessa Paradis, Dustin Hoffman et Meg Ryan ou d’intellectuels comme le physicien Stephen Hawking, qui ont décidé d’annuler des tournées prévues en Israël. Mais aussi celui d’associations universitaires comme l’American Studies Association (ASA), syndicat d’universitaires et de chercheurs.

Invectives et inquiétudes en Israël

Face à cette mobilisation, l’Etat juif multiplie les contre-offensives. En 2011, le Parlement israélien a voté une loi sanctionnant le boycottage des colonies. Cette semaine, le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahu a demandé aux Etats-Unis de “continuer à s’opposer activement aux boycotts contre Israël”.

Mais cette pression inquiète une partie de l’establishment: le ministre des Finances Yaïr Lapid a prévenu, la semaine passée, que le pire serait à venir en cas d’échec des négociations de paix. En cas de boycottage partiel de l’UE, qui représente un tiers des échanges d’Israël, les exportations reculeraient de près de 4,2 milliards d’euros par an, selon une étude de son ministère. De quoi inquiéter les milieux d’affaires: une centaine de chefs d’entreprises israéliens ont d’ailleurs, quelques jours auparavant, pressé Benyamin Netanyahu de saisir l’occasion des efforts américains pour conclure la paix avec les Palestiniens.

Le boycott jusqu’où ?

Pour la Palestinienne Samia Botmeh, partisane d’un boycott radical, “se limiter au boycott des colonies, c’est s’en prendre aux conséquences et non aux causes de l’occupation”. En revanche, l’Américain Noam Chomski estime que viser Israël dans son ensemble “est un cadeau aux faucons israéliens et à leurs soutiens américains”. En France, l’AFPS, qui rejette toute accusation de racisme, “cible la colonisation, et ce qui profite à la colonisation. Ainsi, nous demandons que Orange cesse son partenariat avec Partner Communications, dont les antennes sont implantées sur des terres pales­ti­niennes confis­quées aux Palestiniens”, fait valoir Robert Kissous.

Contre le boycott…

Hors d’Israël, nombreuses sont les voix qui dénoncent la campagne BDS. L’ONG B’nai Brith et le Congrès juif mondial accusent le mouvement d’antisémitisme. Pour Roger Cukierman, président du Crif, l’appel au boycott “crée une fois de plus une exception pour Israël”, expliquant que “bien d’autres pays pourraient être concernés par de telles initiatives”, dont “la Chine pour sa présence au Tibet”. Plus mesuré, David Chemla, secrétaire général européen de l’association JCall, dit “comprendre la logique de ceux qui appellent au boycott des entreprises installées dans les territoires occupés, ou la demande d’étiquetage de produits issus des colonies, qui laisseraient au consommateur le choix d’acheter, ou pas, ces marchandises. Pour autant, explique-t-il à L’Express, JCall ne soutient pas le boycott. L’association, favorable à une solution négociée à deux Etats, y voit un frein à la dynamique de négociation enclenchée par John Kerry”. Tout en admettant qu’un échec nuirait sérieusement à l’image d’Israël.

… Et pour

Bon nombre d’autres juifs d’Israël et de la diaspora, en revanche, soutiennent le boycott. C’est le cas de plusieurs ONG israéliennes, dont La Paix maintenant (Peace Now), qui a même publié une liste des produits en provenance des colonies. L’ancien président de la Knesset Avraham Burg voit dans le boycottage “une tentative audacieuse et innovante pour réaliser des gains diplomatiques”, il salue dans cette nouvelle forme de lutte palestinienne” quelque chose de nouveau et pas si familier pour nous – la résistance non violente.” Le pacifiste relève le paradoxe de la dénonciation du boycott par les autorités israéliennes qui militent ardemment pour le maintien… de sanctions contre l’Iran et le Hamas.

Le blocage de toute avancée des négociations de paix a aussi fait changer d’avis certains contempteurs du boycott. Ainsi l’éditorialiste de Haaretz Gideon Levi, qui le jugeait contre-productif, estime désormais que c’est une action “patriotique” pour faire bouger le gouvernement Netanyahu.

“Une vaste majorité de l’opinion publique européenne voit le boycott comme un juste instrument de pression destiné à libérer les Palestiniens, admet l’historien ‘colombe’ Zeev Sternhell. Cette opinion est partagée par des gens de l’ensemble du spectre politique, y compris ceux qui méprisent l’antisémitisme. Piétiner les droits des Palestiniens au nom de notre droit exclusif à la terre, avertit ce spécialiste du fascisme en Europe, risque d’aboutir à un ostracisme international d’Israël, et si cela se produit, ce ne sera pas de l’antisémitisme”.

“La justice et l’égalité pour tous menacent-elles Israël, interroge dans le New York Times Omar Barghouti, l’un des cofondateurs de la campagne BDS. L’égalité a a-telle détruit le Sud des Etats-Unis [après la fin de la ségrégation], ou l’Afrique du Sud?”

source:lexpress.fr
boycott

Jaljeera, mocktails replace colas as hoteliers protest Israeli bombings in Gaza

Over a hundred hoteliers across the city are boycotting American soft drinks as ‘United States is supporting Israelis in the conflict’.

Extending their support to the Palestinians, over 270 of whom have been killed in the ongoing Israeli bombing attacks in Gaza, more than a hundred hoteliers in various parts of the city are boycotting cola drinks, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.

The hoteliers have taken the step against the American products, because “America is supporting the Israelis in the conflict”, they said.

While several prominent hotels including Shalimar, Baghdadi and Noor Mohammadi Hotel at Bhendi Bazaar, and Persian Durbar at Byculla, stopped selling cola drinks four to five days ago, other smaller hotels have stopped purchasing fresh stock. The move is backed by hoteliers from Colaba to Behram Baug in Jogeshwari, and Bhendi Bazar to Kurla, Mumbra and other areas.

With Ramzan in progress, people in the Muslim-dominated areas are resorting to mocktails, juices and jaljeera as alternatives.

On July 16, more than a hundred members of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association met at Shalimar Hotel to discuss the issue. “We have taken a collective decision to boycott these products as a silent protest to the bombings that are killing so many innocent people, including children. We will continue this protest until the bombings are stopped,” said Omaer Sheikh, managing director of Shalimar.

Terming it as ‘a peaceful protest’, the hoteliers said the purpose is to convey their disapproval of the indiscriminate bombings of hospitals, mosques and villages in Gaza to the Israeli government.

“United States is supporting the Israelis, so in protest we decided to stop selling American cola drinks five days ago. It is horrible to see the way the Israelis are bombing innocent civilians. We cannot do too much, but this is our way of protesting,” said Rashid Hakim, owner of Noor Mohammadi restaurant.

Some small restaurants have stopped replenishing supplies. “We completely stopped purchasing new stock three days ago. Though we don’t know much about the issue, we are protesting against the violence by the Israelis,” said Mushtaq Motiwala, owner of Ali Bhai Seekhwala, arestaurant in Pydhonie.

In 2001, a similar two-month protest against the killing of innocents by US bombings in Afghanistan had been undertaken by hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim hoteliers in the city. Identifying Coca Cola and Pepsi as symbols of American consumerism, the boycott had alarmed cola companies at that time.

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Why ‘Boycott Israel’ Needs To Happen Now

TODAY marks the 14th day that Israel launched a series of attacks on Gaza which they call ‘Operation Protective Edge’. At the time of writing there have been 343 Palestinian casualties while another 2,600 injured. The number consists largely of civilians and also children. On the Israeli side there has only been five casualties.

As a matter of fact, Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine can be construed as a crime in itself. In order to understand the situation further, I invite you to take a look at this short six-minute video below, which was created by the group ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’. Yes, you read that right, Jewish. As you read on, you’ll find out that even Jewish people object to Zionis-Israel.

With one war crime after another being committed by this apartheid regime, the global population has joined in unison in a proclamation against Israel. Calls for ‘Boycott Israel’ can be heard throughout the world and this, of course, includes our beloved country of Malaysia.

However it seems that some in the country would disagree. Youth And Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin seems to be one of them. This week, he insisted that the act of boycotting products was in fact irrational. He said it was tough to determine if a certain product was in fact from Israel.

Israel-propaganda

Khairy added that the act of boycotting might only hurt Malaysians instead. “For instance, when some people say Nestlé is an Israeli product, (but) it is actually manufactured by its factory in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan (and) if we boycott it, people there may end up losing their jobs. That is why we must think first before boycotting,” the Umno Youth Minister said.

“It is not Israelis who will feel the impact of this boycott. It is our workers that will pay the price. Unless a company is clearly supporting Israel,” Khairy added.

Why Boycott?

In response to Khairy’s views, Malaysian Digest contacted Dr. Hafidzi Mohd Noor, director of PACE (Palestine Centre for Excellence). PACE is the research and development arm of Aqsa Syarif and is a non-political and non-profit making body which conducts strategic and futuristic studies on the Arab and Muslim worlds (with an emphasis on Palestine).

Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor“When talking about boycott, we, first of all, need to make clear of the entity which we are boycotting and how we are going to conduct that process. When we campaign to the public, we ask them to steer themselves clear from any products and services which are known to give support to Israel,” says Dr. Hafidzi.

This UKM lecturer explains that the targets of the campaign are not the individual companies, but in fact the target is actually Israel. “However, because these companies contribute to Israel’s economy, we have asked the public to boycott them. At the same time we ask the companies to stop their support to the country. We want these companies to join the civil society and the international people in not supporting Israel.”

He also clarifies that the campaign is not a ‘Boycott Jewish’ or ‘Boycott USA’ campaign.  In fact he reveals there are plenty of Jewish people that oppose the Zionist state of Israel. “There is a difference between Jewish and Zionis. We do not boycott a company because they are Jewish; we boycott them because they support Israel. If the company that supports them are Christians or even Muslims, we will boycott them too. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not a religious issue, it is a humanity issue.”

Is Boycott Effective?

“Boycotting is actually a war strategy,” says Dr. Hafidzi, before adding “The modern day war is no longer just about weapons. Our war with the

Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor

Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor

Zionists is a ‘total war’; it includes factors like economy, politics, social, culture, and education. Today we can see Zionists having control over the world. Even the United Nations is powerless in enforcing their resolutions upon Israel. They are protected by the United States which have veto power to overturn any security resolutions. Boycotting is the most effective weapon in going to war with Israel’s economy.”

To add to his argument, he also points to the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa as proof that boycotting is an effective method. “If we want further evidence of its effectiveness, we need not look any further than to Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He recently said that these boycotts will cause major problems to Israel,” Dr. Hafidzi said referring to Netanyahu’s speech in New York earlier this year. The speech confirms concerns from a few Israel cabinet ministers including from Yair Lapid, its Minister of Justice. Lapid had estimated that Israel will face a loss in the region of USD5.7 billion if the boycotts continued.

“These boycotts are not only conducted by Muslim countries or the countries who have problems with Israel, but we can see that it is in fact a global boycott. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not a religious conflict but a humanity conflict. Today we can see the majority of the world on Palestine’s side even after the bias reporting by the media. The international people now know the true reality of what’s going on,” says Dr. Hafidzi, who hold a PhD in Zoology.

BDS

He continues by saying the most effective boycott has been conducted in the west, especially in the US. Global campaigns such as Israel Apartheid Week and the Boycottt, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement is testimony to this. The Norweigian government announced in August 2010 that based on advice from the Norwegian Council on Ethics, it had excluded two Israeli companies from a government pension fund. A few banks and industries in Europe such as Danske Banke (Ireland), Nordea Bank (Sweden), Vitens (Holland), and many others have withdrawn their investments from Israel. Even religious bodies such as The Church of England synod has voted for disinvestment from Israel

“Further proof of the boycott’s effectiveness can be seen with the company Caterpillar Inc. They eventually had to move their operations away from the West Bank after being boycotted. There are plenty more examples of its effectiveness which also the boycotts to Alstom and Motorola,” added Dr. Hafidzi.

Malaysia’s Loss?

But what about concerns like those expressed by Khairy Jamaludin? Will Malaysian workers truly be the ones to suffer?

Dr. Hafidzi has this to answer: “As mentioned earlier, the target of the boycotts are not the companies, but Israel (itself). We want these companies to withdraw their support to Israel and after that we can continue using their products. If it is true that it might hurt our economy, maybe that is what we have to accept in order to achieve a bigger objective. That is why we target multinational companies such as McDonalds, which have thousands of outlets around the world. Each of these outlets contributes to their parent company in the US. These companies among them have received ‘Friends of Israel’ awards for their huge contributions to Israel’s economy.”

He even added that from Islam’s point of view, Muslim workers of these companies need not resign from their positions.

“They can continue working there. But they need to have an initiative to find another job with pays that is equal or more than what they currently receive.”

Positive repercussion, of course, can come out of this scenario. By boycotting these companies, local products may get a chance to shine and this helps our economy too.

The Big Four

The Islamic group Inminds, which is based in the UK has done thorough research on the companies that contribute to Israel. Naturally, it is not blind boycotting. Only the ones proven to be linked to Israel are targeted.

But Dr. Hafidzi says the campaign is mostly focused on four big companies – McDonalds, Nestle, L’Oreal, and Coca-Cola. “Why haven’t we focused on companies such as Starbucks which has been proven to support Israel too? It is because we see them as a high-end product; a product for those with higher incomes. We focus on consumer products which are more accessible to the masses like the big-four mentioned. If the people want to add other companies to list they boycott, it is up to them if they are capable.”

Boycott-McD

According to the Chicago Jewish Community Online (website of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago), McDonalds Corporation whose global headquarters is based just outside Chicago is a major corporate partner of the Jewish United Fund (JUF) and Jewish Federation(2002) .

Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund “works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel”. Yes, among the first words there were MILITARY. So basically when you buy McDonalds, in a way you are contributing to the bullets that kill those civilian lives in Palestine.

McDonalds Malaysia last week released a statement denying their involvement with Israel. They pointed to the fact that Jack Greenberg, who was the person linked to JUF, had left his position as CEO 10 years ago.

Dr. Hafidzi however refutes this. “The CEOs after Greenberg still contribute to Israel. One of them received an award for his contribution in building a holocaust museum in Chicago. If McDonalds is no longer involved why haven’t they sued Inminds?”, he explained. Obviously they haven’t because they can’t.

A more detailed list of companies that contribute to Israel and how they contribute can be found on Inminds’ website (www.inminds.com/boycott-israel-2012.php).

Political statements

A few global personalities have made political statements on the importance of boycotting Israel and supporting Palestine.

Renowned scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, whose research and writings changed the way we understand our universe, is also backing the boycott of Israel. He demostrated this by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Iranian athletes such as Arash Miresmaeili and  Taleb Nematpour in the past have withdrew from their matches against Israeli opponents. Miresmaeili, a judo athlete competing in the Olympic Games withdrew because he supposedly exceeded the weight limit. But he was quoted on his return home as saying that he had avoided the match as a sign of sympathy with the people of Palestine. This despite the athletes being favourites to win medals.

Ronaldo showing support towards the Palestinian cause

Ronaldo showing support towards the Palestinian cause

According to the Chicago Jewish Community Online (website of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago), McDonalds Corporation whose global headquarters is based just outside Chicago is a major corporate partner of the Jewish United Fund (JUF) and Jewish Federation(2002) .

Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund “works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel”. Yes, among the first words there were MILITARY. So basically when you buy McDonalds, in a way you are contributing to the bullets that kill those civilian lives in Palestine.

McDonalds Malaysia last week released a statement denying their involvement with Israel. They pointed to the fact that Jack Greenberg, who was the person linked to JUF, had left his position as CEO 10 years ago.

Dr. Hafidzi however refutes this. “The CEOs after Greenberg still contribute to Israel. One of them received an award for his contribution in building a holocaust museum in Chicago. If McDonalds is no longer involved why haven’t they sued Inminds?”, he explained. Obviously they haven’t because they can’t.

Political statements

A few global personalities have made political statements on the importance of boycotting Israel and supporting Palestine.

Renowned scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, whose research and writings changed the way we understand our universe, is also backing the boycott of Israel. He demostrated this by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Iranian athletes such as Arash Miresmaeili and  Taleb Nematpour in the past have withdrew from their matches against Israeli opponents. Miresmaeili, a judo athlete competing in the Olympic Games withdrew because he supposedly exceeded the weight limit. But he was quoted on his return home as saying that he had avoided the match as a sign of sympathy with the people of Palestine. This despite the athletes being favourites to win medals.

source:malaysiandigest.com
Coca-Cola boycott

Les attaques israéliennes sur Gaza mènent au boycott du Coca-Cola dans les pays musulmans

Les épiceries et supermarchés turcs ont commencé à retirer les bouteilles de Coca-Cola de leurs rayons, car ils soupçonnent le fabricant américain de boissons gazeuses de soutenir financièrement l’Etat d’Israël, rapporte le Daily Sabah. Au début de cette semaine, le Premier ministre Erdogan a déclaré 3 jours de deuil national pour les victimes palestiniennes de Gaza.

Des entreprises de plusieurs autres pays ont également décidé de suspendre la vente de l’iconique boisson  gazeuse. Ainsi, plus d’une centaine d’hôtels de Mumbai ne vendent plus aucun produit de la firme Coca-Cola et des groupes pro-palestiniens en Malaisie appellent également au boycott de ses sodas.

Ce n’est pas une nouveauté : ce mouvement bien huilé, appelé « Boycott Israël », existe depuis plusieurs années, et il reprend de la vigueur à chaque regain de violence du conflit israélo-palestinien. Mais cette fois-ci, les nombreuses victimes côté palestinien, et les actions violentes d’Israël, illustrées par des photos rapidement relayées par les médias sociaux, risquent de nuire encore davantage à Coca-Cola.

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Coca-Cola et Israël partagent une longue histoire qui remonte aux années soixante du siècle dernier. Ironiquement, ce sont les commerçants de l’Etat juif et les groupes pro-israliens américains qui avaient appelé au boycott, parce que le producteur de boissons gazeuses n’était pas implanté en Israël. Le mouvement a pris fin lorsque Coca-Cola a ouvert un site d’embouteillage à Tel Aviv en 1966. Mais à la suite de la construction de cette usine, ce sont les pays arabes qui ont repris le boycott à leur compte, et ce dernier ne s’est terminé qu’en 1993.

Innovative Minds, un site internet qui soutient les Palestiniens, affirme que Coca Cola est un fervent défenseur d’Israël depuis 1966. Il prétend que Coca-Cola a organisé une réception pour le brigadier-général israélien Binyamin Ben-Eliezer à Atlanta en 2009, que la firme a des liens avec La Chambre américaine de Commerce Israël à Atlanta, et qu’elle possède une laiterie en territoire occupé. Ces allégations sont reprises par plusieurs autres sites anti-israéliens.

Le conflit pourrait donc avoir de graves conséquences pour Coca-Cola, dont les ventes sont déjà déclinantes en Amérique du Nord. La filiale turque de Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Icecek, est la sixième mondiale en importance pour la compagnie, en termes de volumes. Elle vend les produits Coca-Cola dans pas moins de 10 pays, et son chiffre d’affaires représente 4% des ventes mondiales de la multinationale.

source: express.be
1405978155185

TURKS EXPAND PROTEST AGAINST ISRAEL WITH ECONOMIC BOYCOTT

Protests against Israel by the Turkish public continue with a new boycott of Israeli products and companies linked to Israel. People have also been signing up to be human shields in Gaza, which has been battered by Israeli missiles day and night.

ISTANBUL –

The Israeli offensive in Gaza has left over 500 Palestinians, many of them women and children, dead, and has been incurring public’s wrath in Turkey. Protests to condemn Israel became a daily activity all across the country. The Israeli consulate in Istanbul has been the primary target of protesters who have been camping outside the premises for days.

Still, protests are not the only way for Turks to vent their anger against Israel’s brutal crackdown in Gaza. A boycott campaign against Israel initiated on social media websites is slowly finding nationwide support. Coca-Cola, accused of financially supporting Israel, has been boycotted heavily – the company’s products have been removed from shelves in many businesses. Some municipalities announced that they banned sale of Coca-Cola drinks in restaurants and cafes operated by them. These currently include municipalities in the cities of Ordu in northern Turkey, Erzurum in the east, Denizli in the west, Nevşehir in central Turkey as well as many district municipalities in Istanbul including Başakşehir, Bağcılar, Üsküdar, Ümraniye and Esenler.

Tweets reading “Don’t Drink Coca-Cola for Gaza,” “We Will Not Contribute to War,” “Boycott Cruel Israel and its corporate co-conspirators” have been shared widely.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ordu Mayor Enver Yılmaz said they could not remain silent in the face of “Israel’s oppression that turned into a humanitarian tragedy … As Ordu municipality, we boycott killer Israel and the global capital supporting it and do not drink its products. We invite everyone to join this boycott.”

Mehmet Tahmazoğlu, mayor of Şahinbey, a southeastern town, said they stopped selling Israeli-made products in stores and restaurants they operated “because every Israeli product we bought may end up funding a missile that could kill a Muslim.”

The anger against Coca-Cola was not confined to boycott of its products. The Ayyıldız Team, a group of Turkish hackers, who describe themselves as “patriotic, nationalist Turks,” launched cyber-attacks on some corporate websites of Coca-Cola on Sunday night. Hackers left a message: “Access denied to Coca-Cola in the name of innocent children killed in Gaza.” The hackers pledged more cyber-attacks as long as the Israeli offensive continues.

Erkan Güral, president of the Young Businessmen Confederation of Turkey (TÜGİK) said the Turkish business world execute its economic power and adopt the toughest stance against Israel and he called for sanctions against Israel. “Along with political and diplomatic sanctions, we must impose economic sanctions against Israel, who ignores calls for an end to its attacks,” Güral said in a written statement.

While the boycott gained pace, protests continued as well with activists starting a “Gaza watch.” For example, protesters outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul are regularly replaced by others and keep their anti-Israeli rally active around the clock. In the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, activists from 69 nongovernmental organizations staged a night vigil for Palestinians.

After performing tarawih prayers, a night prayer exclusive to the holy month of Ramadan, protesters prayed for Palestinians killed in the Israeli attacks. Chanting slogans against Israel and its main ally, the U.S., protesters continued their rally well into the early hours of Monday in the city’s Dağkapı Square.

Israeli embassy residence in the capital Ankara also saw an anti-Israeli protest late Sunday. A group of activists dispersed without incident after chanting slogans and calling for a boycott against Israel.

Israeli missions whose staff was downgraded to minimum after protests, is also the site of petition campaigns launched by Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), a prominent Turkish charity known for its campaigns for Palestinians. Volunteers sign up to be a human shield in Gaza by signing the petitions at stands set up outside the embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul. In a statement about the campaign, İHH officials said eighty percent of casualties were civilians and more than 50 children were killed in the Gaza attacks.

“This shows Israel deliberately fires upon civilians. Israel’s new strategy is to kill the loved ones, families of insurgents (Hamas members) as most buildings hit by Israel are occupied by those families. More than 1.000 houses were razed to the ground in the attacks. Death toll keeps increasing as well as the number of the injured. It is time for everyone to take concrete steps for their brothers and sisters. We invite you to sign up to volunteer for being human shields,” the statement reads.

source: dailysabah.com

afp-logo-1

Mecca Cola after the middle east will be found in Europe and north Africa

Agence France Presse English

08-28-2002

 

 

The fizzy Iranian soft drink “Zam Zam Cola” could quench the thirst of the two million Muslim faithful expected next February on their annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest spot Mecca, following a Saudi boycott of US cola giants Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.

“Two million pilgrims are going to come to Mecca. We have just established ourselves in Saudi Arabia, where we delivered Saturday 300,000 bottles, and we hope that during the next Hajj (pilgrimage) the faithful will refresh themselves with our products”, Zam Zam’s director Ahmad-Haddad Moghaddam told AFP.

Asked about the opening in the Saudi market, Moghaddam said: “We seized on the opportunity, since US products are being boycotted by Saudis,” as well as other Gulf states in protest over the US government’s support for Israel during the 23-month Palestinian uprising.

“But I would not chalk up our success to political matters. It is because of the quality of our products, the taste of our drinks, comparable to the world’s best products, which also meet international health standards,” he said.

His company’s first shipments arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

Zam Zam, named after Mecca’s Zamzam holy spring water, was founded in 1954 and was for a long time the Iranian partner of Pepsi Cola until their contract was terminated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The company was taken over by the Foundation of Dispossessed, a powerful state charity run by conservative clerics and immune to oversight from parliament.

Zam Zam employs 7,780 people in its 16 factories, the main ones being in Tehran and the northeastern city of Mashhad. Its annual turnover is 162 million dollars.

Besides Saudi Arabia, the Iranian soft drink company is now shipping its fizzy beverages to Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It will soon export its carbonated drinks to Lebanon, Syria and Denmark, which will be its first European client.

Mecca Cola after the middle east will be found in Europe and north Africa

newsweek-ok

Mecca-Cola for who like the taste of the American soda pop but don’t really like America

Newsweek International
1/20/2003

 

Javers, Ron

Brazil: Lula’s Looking Good

As soon as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio (Lula) da Silva was sworn in on Jan. 1, the world worried that his leftist leadership would send Brazil down the path of neighboring Argentina. Foreign investors feared he would focus on pleasing his support base and fail to execute necessary reforms. Instead, Lula seems to be taking steps to defuse what some considered Latin America’s biggest time bomb.

The Brazilian president has wowed financial markets by introducing a program of severe fiscal austerity. The largely impoverished voters who elected Lula have been placated–for the time being at least–by the appointment of large numbers of trade unionists (seven), women (four), blacks (two) and others of the dispossessed who have rarely graced Brazilian cabinets.

All along, Lula has said that he will delay fighting poverty until he could restore Brazil’s teetering finances. His program should do just that. He has proposed no large new taxes. Brazil already collects a hefty 34 percent of all output in taxes, high by regional standards. For his voter base, Lula offered just one consolation–food stamps for Brazil’s poorest under a plan called “Zero Hunger.” It aims to provide each Brazilian enough for three meals a day. And even that initiative is responsibly financed. Lula is canceling the purchase of new fighter aircraft for the military and proposes a politically courageous reduction in the lavish pension benefits paid to unionized, upper- middle-class workers in government and state-owned enterprises.

As a result, Brazil’s government budget should continue in a surplus (excluding debt service) of 3.75 percent of GDP and inflation should shrink. Brazil’s trade surplus is soaring and interest rates on the debt that have been threatening to sink Brazil have already fallen by 40 percent. Brazil’s currency has risen by 20 percent since the election.

Of course, Brazil still faces problems–$120 billion in public debt is denominated in hard-to-earn dollars. And skepticism among foreign investors still exists. “Even so,” says John Williamson of the Institute for International Economics in Washington, “I think the financial crisis is winding down.” An old and nasty joke about Brazil is that it is “a country with a great future–and always will be.” Under Lula–if he can stick to his program–the future may be starting now.

–Rich Thomas

Africa: Unease About Ebola

Apollo, the world’s best-known gorilla, is missing, and the Ebola virus may be the culprit. The alpha male of a 24-member family hasn’t been seen since early December when two

members of his family were found dead–along with three other endangered western lowland gorillas and several chimps–in the remote Odzala National Park of the Republic of the Congo. Less than a year ago, contact with a dead ape was blamed for an Ebola outbreak in the area that killed at least 53 people. Specialists have again found Ebola in the dead apes, NEWSWEEK has learned. Last week government officials began warning locals not to eat monkeys or to ritually wash any relatives who die of fever. So far there have been no confirmed human deaths, but keeping the epidemic at bay is a daunting challenge. Some 3,000 Pygmies and others in the area live from hunting monkeys. The area is thick with apes–as many as nine per square kilometer. That adds up to 80 percent of the world’s remaining lowland gorillas. Efforts to protect the apes until recently have centered on ending the traditional trade in “bush meat.”

But Ebola may prove far more devastating to man’s closest relatives. The Wildlife Conservation Society, based at the Bronx Zoo, suggests that huge numbers of gorillas and chimps may have died in an Ebola epidemic in the area five years ago. And the new outbreak may not be over–another chimp was found dead in the park last week, according to Jean-Marc Froment of ECOFAC, a regional conservation group. “We may be heading into a catastrophe,” he says.

–Tom Masland

Iraq: Help for Blix Is Nixed

We need more actionable intelligence,” chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix repeated last week, appealing for help from–especially– America. Blix complains Washington has been slow to pass evidence or leads on Saddam Hussein’s forbidden weapons programs to his inspection teams. One reason for U.S. delay, NEWSWEEK has learned: the U.N. teams don’t yet have overhead surveillance. The CIA has a list of suspect sites in Iraq and wants overhead monitoring of the sites before, during and after surprise U.N. visits–“to see nothing goes in or out,” a source said. America has offered Blix use of its Predator surveillance drone (UAV). To avoid the appearance of bias, Blix wants Europe to provide the UAVs. But European UAVs are not as good as Predator. “They [the CIA] don’t have that many shots in their locker,” said the source, referring to the suspect-sites list. “They want to ensure the U.N. makes effective use of what they do know.”

–John Barry

Guns: The Battle Of Britain

Cricket on the village green, “bobbies” armed with no more than nightsticks, leisurely strolls along cobbled city lanes at any hour. Those who still cling to this sepia-tone image of Britain would not recognize the land depicted in the national media of late: teenage girls gunned down with a machine-pistol; urban areas plagued by gangland shootings; heavily armed special police laying siege to the home of a hostage-taking gunman; handguns so common in

some neighborhoods that they are seen as fashion accessories. This sounds like the United States, not the United Kingdom.

The British government moved into action last week–prompted by a series of sensational shootings over the holidays and some alarming new statistics: firearms offenses up 35 percent in the past year, and up 60 percent since 1996. It proposed minimum five-year prison sentences for illegal possession of firearms. Home Secretary David Blunkett summoned police and community leaders to a gun-crime summit last Friday to explore new ways of tackling the problem. However, British gun-control authority Peter Squires cautions that gun crime is “a crisis of our own making.” While new legislation and enforcement crackdowns may be useful, he says, they do not address the underlying societal causes of crime.

The shocking rise in gun crimes understandably offends traditional British standards of safety and civility, and Britons may rightly be worried that they are heading toward an American-style gun culture. But the good news is they’ve got a long way to go. Firearms are used in less than 1 percent of all offenses recorded in Britain. (Handguns are banned; even British Olympic shooters have to train in other countries.) British police studies show that up to three out of four “guns” used in crimes are actually so-called replica weapons–realistic toys, or firearms that have been incapacitated, which criminals use because the penalties for possession are much less severe. The number of homicides by firearms in Britain each year is about 100; during the 1990s, the United States averaged 16,500 per year. Gun crime has inarguably worsened in Britain, but an American is still 34 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than a Briton is.

–Stryker Mcguire and Emily Flynn

Hoaxes: Fooled by ‘Fidel’

Last Monday, Venezuela’s embattled President Hugo Chavez received what he assumed to be a pleasant early-morning phone call from his friend and staunch ally Fidel Castro. Minutes later, Chavez realized he’d been duped–by Miami DJs Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero. Using digitally mixed clips of the Cuban leader’s voice, the two pranksters had managed to con the Venezuelan presidential palace–and its occupant–into — believing Castro was on the line. NEWSWEEK’s Malcolm Beith spoke to them about the most successful coup against Chavez to date:

NEWSWEEK: What inspired the idea?

SANTOS: We’ve been doing this segment for two months called “Fidel Te Llama” (“Fidel’s Calling You”). We’ve taken the conversation that Fidel Castro secretly recorded and made public last year between him and Mexican President Vicente Fox, extracted 43 different words and phrases and utilized these to prank-call people. We’ve called residences, different banks, information.

Why Chavez?

FERRERO: We were really concerned with what’s going on in Venezuela, [so] we decided we should do something. Actually, we never imagined we would be able to speak to Chavez. But he fell for the trick.

Fidel doesn’t exactly sound coherent on the tape. Were you trying to infer something about the aging comandante?

FERRERO: That’s the way Fidel Castro behaves and talks. I guess Chavez knows him so well that it didn’t bother him at all to hear Castro saying incoherent things–things that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. So he tried to start up the conversation to find out why [Castro] was calling him.

And Chavez hung up on you as soon as he caught on?

SANTOS: We hung up on him. The moment we identified ourselves, there was total silence. He didn’t respond back, so at that time I took the opportunity to tell him what I think of him.

The Chavez government has said it won’t press charges for taping without consent and verbally abusing him–at least for now.

SANTOS: It’s ridiculous. [Chavez] and the people surrounding him–the Venezuelan government–they’re the criminals. They’re the ones that charges should be imposed on.

Any other pranks on the horizon?

SANTOS: We’ve actually thought of calling Cuba to see if we can get Fidel Castro to believe he’s got Chavez on the line.

Entertainment: One Hot ‘Mamma’?

The shows that become Vegas staples–think Siegfried and Roy and Cirque du Soleil–dazzle guests, then dump them at the blackjack tables. Tourists here don’t like to sit still. But next month Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino will stage a $7 million production of the ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!”–a Broadway import that runs more than two hours and will be the only show in Vegas with an intermission. New York stalwarts like “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Rent” failed in Vegas; “Chicago” was a modest success–but with locals, not visitors. “The spectacle of Broadway isn’t the same as the spectacle of the Strip,” says Vegas4Visitors.com executive producer Rick Garman. “Vegas is not a place where you want to pay attention to plot.”

“Mamma Mia!’s” plot is easy to ignore, which is why Mandalay thinks it will be a hit. The story is a thinly veiled excuse for staging catchy tunes in that over-the-top, Sin City style. Still, the touring production of the show made two extended visits to nearby Los Angeles and has played in 25 U.S. cities a year for the past two years. Garman wonders if tourists will spend their vacation dough on a show they can see elsewhere, since most visitors crave those only-in-Vegas experiences. Mandalay likes the odds. “Given that the content of the show is light

and brisk,” says Mandalay Resort Group president Glenn Schaeffer, “it has every feature that would spell success for the Las Vegas Strip.”

–Steve Friess

Internet: A Friend Indeed

At first it seems as if someone has gone to great–even weird–lengths to proclaim his fealty. “There are over 6 billion people alive today,” the personalized Web site proclaims. “Out of all those, I consider Seth Mnookin my friend.” With the gushing music from “Dragonheart” playing in the background, a host of… attributes? compliments?… flashes on the screen: “Companion. Colleague. Depend. Grateful. Truth. Gift. Happiness.” Never mind that the site can’t seem to tell nouns from verbs. The latest word-of-mouth Web sensation is youaremyfriend .com–a nifty little project that requires nothing more than the ability to type in someone’s name (as in seth.mnookin. youaremyfriend.com) to produce instant,personalized treacle. Since early December, the site’s averaged a million visitors a week. “It started as a way to test other software,” says the site’s creator, Robert Blake, a Canadian systems analyst. “I’ve heard people have used it to keep from breaking up with their girlfriends.” Blake, who speaks in the truncated English endemic to computer programmers, says one of his goals is “to make the lower- quality Internet slightly more useful.” Happiness!

–Seth Mnookin

Culture Notes: The Rest Dissing the West?

Strolling amid the crowds of fashionably dressed under-30s out for a Saturday night in Seoul, South Korea, I chanced on a busy outdoor market where sidewalk vendors had set up long tables piled high with CDs. A boombox was blasting out the latest Korean rock. One song caught my ear and I decided on the spot to buy the CD as a present for my twentysomething American son. Back in New York, when I presented it to him he stared suspiciously at the Korean-language titles on the label and asked, “What’s this? Some kind of Korean folk music?”

“No, it’s rock,” I told him. “Korean rock. It’s by Cool, the No. 1- selling band in South Korea.” He was shocked. “I knew Koreans listened to American rock and British rock,” he said. “I guess I just didn’t think their own bands would sell more than the Western imports.”

Guess again. Not only do Korean kids prefer their own rockers, but so do Japanese kids, Chinese kids, Russian kids and Egyptian kids. While rock is certainly an American invention, and a big-selling import in many world markets, local music is still what the masses are buying most of.

Chalk that encounter up to the BJ&M syndrome–that’s blue jeans and McDonald’s. Sufferers from BJ&M syndrome seem to believe that because many people all over the world like rock

and roll, blue jeans, fast food and American movies, they are equally enamored of American values and ideas about how the world works.

Wrong. Sometimes it’s just the beat or the cut that attracts the world’s huddled masses. Nor is anybody who is sipping Starbucks necessarily saluting American culture. In fact, in a number of places, American imports are decidedly under pressure, especially those products whose style can be easily appropriated.(Take Mecca-Cola–a Coke knockoff aimed at Middle Easterners who like the taste of the American soda pop but don’t really like America.)

If Americans are ever to understand the emerging revolt against their supposed cultural hegemony–McDonald’s, Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, among others, have all been challenged– they must look beneath the surface. Or as Harvard’s Samuel P. Huntington famously put it: “Somewhere in the Middle East a half-dozen young men could well be dressed in jeans, drinking Coke, listening to rap, and, between their bows to Mecca, putting together a bomb to blow up an American airliner.” Even in South Korea, where sharpening attitudes toward the West still pale in comparison with those in many Middle Eastern countries, it should come as no surprise that many of the kids screaming in the streets protesting U.S. policy are wearing… Levi’s.

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After Mecca Cola was introduced two similar drinks were rolled out in France

International Herald Tribune

03-17-2003

 

If the United States does invade Iraq, some of the first casualties may be the cachet that American brands and products have enjoyed around the world and the globalized marketplace they helped to build. In Muslim countries, franchised stores like McDonald’s and KFC have already been attacked, threatening to brake a recent surge of investment in franchised businesses, many of them originating in the United States. At the same time, a growing number of knock-off products have appeared in Europe, imitating popular American brands but appealing to anti-American sentiment in Europe’s large Muslim population and among other Europeans opposed to American policy in Iraq. ”From a business perspective,” said Bilal Hallaq of Franchise Development Services, a British consulting firm, ”it has catalyzed a move to more insular markets.” There is no easy way to know whether the effects of anti-American sentiment on American businesses in Europe will be substantial. They may be masked somewhat by the general economic slowdown, which has already reduced investment. But Hallaq said that a wave of Middle Eastern investment in franchised businesses, as an alternative to putting money in sour stock markets, appeared to have halted. An important meeting scheduled for April in Riyadh, where one Canadian and two American companies had planned to recruit Middle Eastern franchisees, has been called off, he said, and a similar meeting meant to bring together investors and franchise holders in Cairo next month has been put off until September. Arab-owned companies are postponing expansions into Western Europe. In recent months, Hallaq said, several Arab-owned chains, including one modeled on the Body Shop and another of Arabian-style coffee shops, shelved plans to open in markets like France, Britain and Germany. Similarly, Muslim countries seeking to attract American investment have suffered setbacks. A recent effort by Morocco to attract American franchisers was canceled after no Americans came. But business contacts among Muslim regions remain strong. ”Anything with a foreign flavor, especially from the United States and the United Kingdom, is not on the agenda,” Hallaq said. Some local companies that appeal specifically to Western Europe’s 12 million Muslim consumers have continued to expand. In the Netherlands, for example, Chicken Cottage, a chain of fried chicken restaurants promising that all its poultry is prepared according to Muslim religious standards, is thriving in large cities like Amsterdam, though its success in the countryside is modest. Soft drinks challenging Coca-Cola and claiming solidarity with Muslim causes are multiplying. After a Coke knockoff called Mecca Cola was introduced in November, two similar drinks, Muslim Up and Arab Cola, were rolled out in France this month. Though meant to appeal to young Arabs and to support Muslim causes, the products also seem to be cashing in on general anti-American sentiment. Muslim Up’s advertising promotes ”an alternative for all who boycott Zionist products and big American brands.” But Gerard Le Blanc, the Algerian-born French businessman who started Arab Cola, was quoted by the French daily Liberation as saying that ”we are above all a beverage manufacturer; we are apolitical, and not at all ideological.” These brands may stoke

competition, but they usually remain narrow niche products, according to Jagdish Sheth, a marketing expert at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta. The problems that anti-American sentiment in Europe may be causing for American companies already operating in Europe and the Middle East are harder to gauge. The Starbucks franchisee for Switzerland and Austria, Bon Appetit Group, sold its 21 stores back to Starbucks Coffee Co. in March, less than two years after opening them, prompting speculation in the Swiss media that concern about anti-American sentiment harming the stores’ sales played a role as well. In the Middle East, McDonald’s Corp. introduced a new product this month ã the McArabia, a chicken sandwich on Arabian-style bread ã with a sales and promotion campaign that overshadowed the flagship Big Mac, an effort that one French newspaper said was meant to ”relaunch McDonald’s in the Muslim world.” Both Starbucks and McDonalds denied that their moves had anything to do with geopolitical tensions.Indeed, Starbucks said that buying out Bon Appetit’s interest in the stores reflected its determination to expand ambitiously in Europe; Bon Appetit’s main businesses, institutional catering and food distribution, had been struggling lately and the company had no spare cash to finance additional Starbucks stores in its territory.But Hallaq, the British franchising consultant, said that American companies, brands and ideas may get a much chillier reception if bullets fly in the Gulf region. ”Everything was starting to open up,” he said. ”If we go to war, it will be a setback.”