McDonald’s logo: “i’m lovin it”
McDonald’s Corp. (MCD)’s licensee in Israel has confirmed their company’s refusal to open a franchise inside a mall being built in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
According to a McDonald’s Israel spokesperson the company, with 180 outlets in Israel, has never operated in territory seized by Israel in 1967.
Apparently the decision was made by Omri Padan, the owner of McDonald’s Israel, who was also an original co-founder of Peace Now, although he is no longer a member. According to Irina Shalmor, spokesperson for McDonald’s Israel, the decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S. In an email McDonald’s Global Media spokesperson Becca Hary informs Mondoweiss, “Our partner in Israel has determined that this particular location is not part of his growth plan.”
Israel’s Jewish settlements in Palestinian occupied territory are illegal under international law.
The Jerusalem Post‘s Report: McDonald’s refuses to open branch in Ariel, makes no distinction between the Israeli-owned franchise and the parent company.
Tzahi Nahmias, the realtor who is marketing the mall’s commercial space, told the paper that McDonald’s refused to open a branch because Ariel is located beyond the Green Line.
McDonald’s confirmed that it did not intend to open in Ariel and said that its refusal to operate in the West Bank “had always been the restaurant chain’s policy,” according to the report.
Nahmias said that there were other companies besides McDonald’s, that he refused to name, that expressed concerns that opening in the mall would negatively impact their international business.
Omar Barghouti did not make that distinction either, he had this to say:
Given all the problems (related to health, environment, politics, human rights, etc.) associated with McDonald’s, almost no one expected this corporate giant to openly declare a very courageous policy of boycotting Israel’s illegal colonies built in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Ben & Jerry’s, which unlike McDonald’s has a progressive ethical policy, has so far resisted taking any effective action to stop its Israeli franchise from selling its products in the colonies and has resisted, even more, taking a public stance against doing any business in settlements. I guess even heartless corporate giants may sometimes beat socially responsible corporations in respecting human rights and international law!
Ethical responsibility aside, financial observers will not miss the economic implications of this decision by McDonald’s–boycotting the settlements, as a bare minimum, to avoid being boycotted by human rights conscious citizens worldwide may make financial sense due to the growing impact of BDS.
G4S, Veolia, Assa Abloy, Adidas and others are learning this lesson fast, after losing hefty contracts due to BDS activism worldwide.
Now we have to make sure McDonald’s is indeed out of all Israeli colonies and hold it to account if not.
It is possible that effectively, with regards to the locations of McDonald’s Israel outlets, there is no distinction between the parent company and the franchise. We’ll probably be hearing more about this in the near future.
[Correction: Originally this article misrepresented McDonald’s stating they had not been available for comment. For this we apologize.~Ed.]