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June 15, 2015 2:43 pm

Israeli Legal Center Threatens Coca-Cola With Lawsuit Over Palestinian CEO’s Support for BDS

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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A Coca-Cola truck. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Coca-Cola truck. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Shurat HaDin Legal Center in Israel has threatened the Coca-Cola Company on Monday with a lawsuit unless it cancels its contract with the Palestinian franchise and its CEO, who has expressed support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

“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,” wrote Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and U.S. adviser Robert J. Tolchin, in a letter to Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent.

“The Coca-Cola Company should not affiliate itself with any person or entity calling for a boycott or similar effort against the Israeli government or the nation’s manufacturers, companies, products or services,” a copy of the letter obtained by the Algemeiner read.

Their letter was a follow-up to an article published in the New York Observer also on Monday, which cited a list of examples in which Khouri clearly expressed support for BDS, an acronym for the boycott movement.

In an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinal in 2014, Khouri wrote: “Non-violent efforts of … BDS advocates make sense as a means to force Israel to recognize that the occupation is not cost-free.”

Separately, in Washington DC insider newspaper The Hill, the Palestinian-American businessman criticized Congress for introducing legislation aimed at countering the BDS movement, which Kouri insisted was “a means to secure Palestinian freedom.”

Critics of BDS allege that the movement practices a double standard against the Jewish state despite the atrocities of neighboring Syria or the Islamic State. Others have claimed the movement is filled with activists who use the Palestinian cause as a guise for antisemitism, or to demonize Jews or Israeli Jews.

A bill aimed at discouraging politically motivated actions by foreign countries and international organizations seeking to limit trade with Israel has passed initial hurdles in the House and Senate. Earlier this month, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed off on a law aimed at prohibiting the boycott of a country with which the state has open trade agreements, such as Israel.

Shurat HaDin noted that “a boycott is not protected by the freedom-of-speech language of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because a boycott is not speech, it is action.”

According to the Coca-Cola website, as part of its Palestinian operations, the company employs some 400 individuals at bottling plants in Ramallah, Jericho and Tulkarem, and in seven distribution points. The company said it is the third largest employer in the Palestinian territories.

A new $20 million Coca-Cola bottling plant was scheduled to open in Gaza this year.

Shurat HaDin recently threatened a food co-op in New York with a similar lawsuit.

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  • If the Coca-Cola Company does not fire this man, Israel should sue Coca-Cola!

  • Carol stahl

    We will tell everyone we know….instead of BDS….BCC, boycott coca cola .
    Dayenu….it is enough already .

  • Just Removed ALL Coca Cola Products from Home & Office and I’m not Jewish.
    However, I do, Support Israel & The Rights of the Jewish People.

    Don’t Mess with GOD’s Chosen People !!!
    There is Only ONE GOD – No matter what Others Choose to Call HIM …. and each of us,
    WILL Stand Before HIM on Judgement Day.
    Anyone who has Harmed a Jewish Person Will NEVER Enter The GATES Of HEAVEN !!!

    There is, NO Paradise for TERRORIST !!!!!
    There is, NO Paradise for CRUEL, EVIL PEOPLE !!!!!

    • mary daly

      gods people sure they crucified him you twat am sure coke will go bust with all the business they’ll loss dickhead

    • richard mallin

      Evil people are getting by with murder.

      In fact they are making a new country for themselves in

      Syria and Iraq. It is their very own “Caliphate” and

      they are going to win because we have a closet Muslim

      Muslim in the US who literally is giving them free

      reign. They are ISIS or ISUL and they are getting

      stronger by the day since the world are scared of them.

      We hear a lot of rhetoric but see very little response.

      So, Alice, you have the perfect example of Evil.

      Thank you, Richard

  • bruceps

    In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Arab League instituted a boycott against Israel. The United States Congress passed trade-related legislation that fined any company that gave in to this form of bigotry. The same can be done now. If there any doubts about BDS’ motives, re the destruction of Israel – not just the creation of a second state – read their charter on their website.

  • Jeffery Saddlemire

    Maybe it’s time to BOYCOT Coca Cola products!




    Well actually, if I’m no mistaken, they did sue the C0-0p and won.

  • philip witriol

    It’s wrong to talk of double standards and compare Israel’s treatment to Syria. As a free country,Israel faces a triple standard.
    The antisemitism inherent to BDS, and
    the need to support democracy against Islamofascism are the reasons why BDS is wrong.

  • Mandrake

    Congratulations to The Shurat HaDin Legal Center in Israel

  • Michael

    BDS is an anachronim for anti-Semitism.Just another convenient politically correct mask to disguise a deep seeded hatred of Jews. Those that support BDS are the impotent cowards attempting to confront Jews without risk of being punched in the face.

  • steven L

    All in heart with Shurat HaDin.

  • Isaac Semaya

    BDS is not a peaceful group. If the Palestinians want to follow BDS, I would like to remind them that their acceptance of this policy only leads to lose of jobs for the residence of the West Bank (Palestinians). I guess they do not care what happens to there people when they are forced out of a job by their own leaders.

  • Mickey Oberman

    “…Others have claimed the movement is filled with activists who use the Palestinian cause as a guise for antisemitism, or to demonize Jews or Israeli Jews.”

    Or just to gratify their own warped, demented, malfunctioning egos.mmm

  • Karen

    Well….. No more diet coke for me!

  • John Glueck

    Legal action is the only thing that will stop these actors in the PA from using their influence and funding to support BDS. So glad to see Shurat HaDin pursuing this case. The Israeli government should sanction all companies who promote or participate in BDS activities. Why should the people of Israel support a terrorist state with basic utilities, infrastructure and quality of life when terrorism prevails and children’s textbooks depict Jews as everything evil? They don’t need Coke, let them drink their own poison.

  • n

    The irony is while the UN and its sister organizations are stressing the abject poverty in Gaza and the oppression of its terrorist Hamas by the Israeli government, Coca-Cola has chosen to open a 20 million dollar plant to serve the inhabitants of that supposedly devastated enclave. Who will have the funds to be buying the Coco-Cola produced at the factory? We can only hope that Hamas, using money supplied by Iran, will be the main customer.

  • art

    First time for American Jews to wake up. Where are the so called leaders? Next if they want to boycott we should boycott them. THen lawfare is justified