Adonis Diaries

Glasgow flies Palestinian flag. And Zionist US corporations boycott Glasgow. And what of Starbucks operations again?

Posted on: August 21, 2014

Glasgow flies Palestinian flag.

And Zionist US corporations boycott Glasgow over Gaza support

And what of Starbucks operations again?

And you don’t believe in boycotting apartheid systems?

Published time: August 19, 2014 11:05

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators listen to speeches holding placards and waving Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of the embattled Gaza Strip in London on August 9, 2014. (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators listen to speeches holding placards and waving Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of the embattled Gaza Strip in London on August 9, 2014. (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Hundreds of US businesspeople have scrapped plans to visit Glasgow, following the Scottish city’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag following Israeli military operations in Gaza.

The visitors represented major US corporations such as Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and Coca-Cola, and were due to visit the Glasgow as a reward for investing millions into its economy.

The delegation of 600 CEOs and business leaders was organized by the vice president of a leading Fortune 500 company, Richard Cassini.

However, following Glasgow City Council’s decision to fly the flag over its city chambers as a sign of solidarity with Gaza, Cassini wrote to Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, canceling the planned event.

“We were scheduling six days in Glasgow, three for business and three for leisure time,” Cassin wrote. “Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip. We are a Fortune 500 Company, so costs were really not a serious consideration, location was,” he said.

“Hopefully, the Muslim population that you so sincerely endorse will have the spending power of the very people you have chased away so well.”

While Glasgow City Council has acknowledged receiving the email, they have not responded “because of the volume” of emails relating to the council’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag.

“The council has received more than 1,500 emails/calls/online forms, etc, about the flag and is responding to each” of them, a council spokeswoman said.

The council sparked controversy when it decided to raise the Palestinian flag in the wake of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, which began in July.

In a letter to the Mayor of Bethlehem, Israel, Docherty offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the people of Gaza.

“Glasgow is home to many friends of Palestine and this is a deeply distressing time for them. They represent a variety of ethnicities, political persuasions, faiths and none. However, they are united by a common desire to support the Palestinian people,” she said.

The council’s decision was met with criticism from a number of Jewish representative groups, including the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, who referred to the act as “the worst kind of gesture politics”.

It “does nothing to alleviate the suffering on either side of the conflict,” they added.

Cassini insisted his decision to abandon the business leaders’ trip to Glasgow would not be reversed.

Facts about Starbucks in the Middle East

Facts about Starbucks in the Middle East (UPDATED August 2014)

Though our roots are in the United States, we are a global company with stores in 65 countries, including nearly 600 stores in 12 Middle Eastern and North African countries employing more than 10,000 partners (employees).

In countries where we do business, we are proud to be a part of the fabric of the local community – working directly with local business partners who operate our stores, employing thousands of local citizens, serving millions of customers and positively impacting many others through our support of local neighborhoods and cities.

Our 300,000 partners around the globe have diverse views about a wide range of topics.

Regardless of that spectrum of beliefs, Starbucks has been and remains a non-political organization. We do not support any political or religious cause. Additionally, neither Starbucks nor the company’s chairman, president and ceo Howard Schultz provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way.

What we do believe in, and remain focused on, is staying true to our company’s long-standing heritage – simply connecting with our partners and customers over a cup of high quality coffee and offering the best experience possible to them – regardless of geographical location.

Questions and Answers:

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.

Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?

No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.

Do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?

We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.

When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis.

At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, the Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999.

Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates nearly 600 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. In addition to its Starbucks stores, the Alshaya Group operates more than 2,600 retail stores in the Middle East, Russia and North Africa, providing jobs for more than 40,000 employees of more than 110 nationalities.

We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for the past fifteen years and look forward to building on this success.

In which Middle Eastern and North African countries do you operate?

We partner with Alshaya Group to operate Starbucks stores in Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and North Africa region. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many communities, and we are committed to providing the Starbucks Experience while respecting the local customs and cultures of each country we are a part of.

We are also committed to hiring locally, providing jobs to thousands of local citizens in the countries where we operate.

This updates a statement originally posted to the Starbucks Newsroom in 2010.

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