Photos surfaced last week showing Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh playing soccer with a team whose jersey’s are adorned with the Pepsi logo. The images prompted leading pro-Israel bloggers to speculate on a possible affiliation between the global brand and the radical group.
Responding to The Algemeiner’s request for comment, a Pepsi representative denied that the company sponsored the team.
“Pepsi does not sponsor any soccer teams in Gaza. In this case, the local independent bottler producing Pepsi arranged for promotional activities to take place at a soccer event involving 30 local community teams,” said the spokesperson in an email.
This isn’t the first time Pepsi—which in theory still holds the license to its own logo, and therefore can dictate where and when it is used—has been associated with Hamas-related events. The Elder of Ziyon blog points out that their logo was used this summer during another soccer tournament.
Pepsi Co., has a complicated history with Israel. It was one of many multinationals that wouldn’t do business in the country during the 40-year Arab commercial boycott of the Jewish state, yet Palestinians have also greeted it with mistrust, even claiming it to be an acronym for ‘Pay Every Penny to Save Israel.’