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McDonald’s refuses to sell where Ben & Jerry’s will — occupied territory

Israel/Palestine
on 45 Comments
im lovin it logo ry4s
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.]

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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45 Responses

  1. ckg
    ckg
    June 27, 2013, 1:41 pm

    It is important to note that this decision is made by McDonald’s Israel, not U.S. based McDonald’s Corporation. McDonald’s Israel is merely the local licensee and is owned by Israeli businessman Omri Padan’s Alonyal Limited. In contrast McDonald’s Corporation, traded on the NYSE, is owned by countless shareholders.

    • Mndwss
      Mndwss
      June 27, 2013, 4:14 pm

      “It is important to note that this decision is made by McDonald’s Israel, not U.S. based McDonald’s Corporation.”

      It is important to note that everything bad Israel does is made possible by McAIPAC-USA!

  2. just
    just
    June 27, 2013, 1:43 pm

    What great news!

    BDS, 1S1P1V!

  3. FreddyV
    FreddyV
    June 27, 2013, 2:42 pm

    “According to a McDonald’s spokesperson the company has never operated in territory seized by Israel in 1967.”

    Sorry, I’m a little confused. Isn’t there a McDonalds in Ramallah?

    • annie
      annie
      June 27, 2013, 4:02 pm

      i think when they reference ‘mcdonald’s’ in israel they mean ‘mcdonald’s israel’ which probably only holds a contract for the franchise in israel. if there’s a macdonalds in ramallah perhaps the franchise is owned by a palestinian.

      (also the post has been updated)

      • FreddyV
        FreddyV
        June 27, 2013, 4:54 pm

        Hey Annie,

        Apologies. I cut across as doubting. That wasn’t the intention.

        Regards

        Steve

      • annie
        annie
        June 27, 2013, 5:22 pm

        no worries freddy ;)

    • ckg
      ckg
      June 27, 2013, 4:18 pm

      As of Sept 2011 there were no McDonald’s restaurants in Ramallah: BBC News.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 27, 2013, 4:38 pm

        Ramallah has Checkers. And shawarma is way better than McDs anyway. Especially pre shisha.

        I don’t know how the Palestinians coped before the Israelis invented shawarma.

      • ckg
        ckg
        June 27, 2013, 5:23 pm

        I think Israelis may be responsible for the dubious invention of turkey shawarma, which John Kerry had in Ramallah, of all places. I’d rather have lamb.

      • jsinton
        jsinton
        June 27, 2013, 5:47 pm

        Ohhh… Checkers gives me indigestion. Better stick to the hummus and shaworma.

      • Inanna
        Inanna
        June 28, 2013, 3:49 am

        LOL. Poor Israelis don’t even realize that 1) the origin of shawarma is Turkish and 2) it’s eaten all over the Middle East, Turkey and in Greece as well.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 28, 2013, 8:50 am

        Checkers has the best french fries, at least in my area.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        June 28, 2013, 11:45 pm

        Inanna,

        For your information 52 per cent of the Jewish Israeli population are of Middle eastern origin i.e. Mizrahim /Sephardi, including those Israeli Jews of Turkish Sephardi origin.

        So at least a little over HALF of the Israeli people are VERY well acquainted with shawarma and other Middle Eastern foods/cuisine for the simple fact that such foods/cuisine BELONG to and are part of the culture and history of Middle Eastern JEWS as well!

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        June 29, 2013, 1:38 am

        are they actually claiming that they “invented” Shawarma in the same way that they “invented” hummus?

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 29, 2013, 4:44 pm

        Miriam

        I guess that explains why they were ‘disinfected’ with dangerous chemicals when they arrived in Israel to work for the Ashkenazim.

        http://www.himalmag.com/component/content/article/4538-the-cochin-mizrahi.html

        “The Mizrahi have always been viewed by the Ashkenazim as culturally, religiously and intellectually inferior. Hence, for instance, Golda Meir referred to Jewish migrants from Yemen this way: ‘We do not want Yemenite way of life. We shall bring the immigrants to Israel and make them human beings.’ ”

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        June 29, 2013, 10:22 pm

        K. Renner says;
        *****************************************************
        are they actually claiming that they “invented” Shawarma in the same way that they “invented” hummus?
        *****************************************************

        No, buddy boy/girl , they don’t need to ‘invent ANYTHING!’

        Both hummus and shawarma BELONG to the Mizrahim as much as non- Jewish Arabs !

        This video by Corey Gil Shuster is for you!

        To educate you..

      • annie
        annie
        June 30, 2013, 12:50 am

        Both hummus and shawarma BELONG to the Mizrahim as much as non- Jewish Arabs !

        not so sure the video proves whatever point you are trying to make. one guy says “i am egyptian” the other says (:50 secs) “i am an arab”, another “i am iraqi” another “i am arab i didn’t steal it” another “i am arab”, nothing points to hummus being israeli. they are arab jews so naturally hummus is part of and carried over from their arab tradition/culture. and this is something they obviously know, or they wouldn’t reference their arab ethnicity as the rational of why they did not ‘steal’ hummus.even the last one, the person in the background says “because he is arab”.

        this is kind of a no brainer.

        hummus was arab and is still arab and every single restaurant the filmmaker visited was an arab restaurant. they just happened to also be jews.

        i wonder how long this video will remain in the hasbara series. clearly there has been a media campaign to try to un-define arab jews as arabs. but they’re arabs and they know they’re arabs and furthermore, it’s a good thing they’re arabs. why not? it’s just brainwashing trying to erase their arab ethnic culture. and it’s probably temporary.

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 30, 2013, 3:56 am

        “… Both hummus and shawarma BELONG to the Mizrahim as much as non- Jewish Arabs !” (miriam)

        Happy to see someone here from the other world accepting that the Mizrahim were actually Arab-Jews. Ben Gurion and Company did somersaults to convince the 600,000 or so Arab-Jews that there was nothing Arab about them.

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 30, 2013, 4:40 am

        Annie, the Arabic word for chick pea is ” hummos”. That should say it all.

        In classical Hebrew, the word for chick pea is “himtsa”. Modern Hebrew (that tends to steal anything and everything) calls the chick pea “Khumoos”; article in the Jewish Forward said so:

        http://forward.com/articles/2119/chickpeas/

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        June 30, 2013, 6:19 am
      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 30, 2013, 2:29 pm

        How many mizrahim actually speak arabic nowadays? I wonder.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 30, 2013, 2:32 pm

        I thought the modern Hebrew for hummus was “gefilte chicken borscht” with the r pronounced as in German.

      • annie
        annie
        June 30, 2013, 7:29 pm

        thanks walid and shmuel..and seafoid

        ;)

  4. OlegR
    OlegR
    June 27, 2013, 6:46 pm

    You might argue that Mac Israel is doing the Ariel a favor.
    Now if only the Israeli public would boycott the rest of these cheap cholesterol dispensers as a response and the world we live in would become a little better…

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      June 28, 2013, 10:41 am

      Now if only the Israeli public would boycott the rest of these cheap cholesterol dispensers as a response and the world we live in would become a little better…

      This talk of boycott sounds anti-semitic to me. Are you a nazi?

    • annie
      annie
      June 28, 2013, 12:03 pm

      Now if only the Israeli public would boycott the rest of these cheap cholesterol dispensers as a response and the world we live in would become a little better…

      ha! come on oleg ..we know what team you’re batting on. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/06/27/McDonald-s-snubbed-for-refusing-to-open-Jewish-settlement-branch-.html

      Israeli activists have urged a McDonald’s boycott, given the fast food chain has refused to open a branch in a Jewish settlement, Israel National News website reported on Thursday.

      • OlegR
        OlegR
        June 28, 2013, 2:33 pm

        Was i not clear when i said that i think McDonald’s should be boycotted because of their action?

      • annie
        annie
        June 28, 2013, 3:35 pm

        i guess misunderstood your reference to ‘doing ariel a favor’ and ‘cholesterol dispensers’.

  5. American
    American
    June 27, 2013, 6:54 pm

    McDonalds does excerise some control over where outlets locate even if one has bought the franchise rights to an entire area……or put it this way….Corporate has ‘some strong imput’ and guidelines because they 1) want a certain yearly franchise fee income stream naturally from every location so they can approve or disapprove locations or ‘strongly advise’ 2) they dont want failed McDs littering the landscape because of a poor location…..bad PR and bad for potential franchise buyers belief in the McD no fail money maker.
    I dont know if corporate had anything to do with this decision but they may have, one McD or even dozens that could be or become controversial wouldnt be worth it to their world wide brand.

  6. ritzl
    ritzl
    June 27, 2013, 8:40 pm

    Why is NOT doing something illegal considered a boycott action (or an affront, from the Israeli PoV), or something, anything above and beyond normal business practice? Isn’t it simply obeying the law?

    Still, well done McDonalds-Israel!

    I get the significance of this decision, but it’s striking how it’s come to the point where simply obeying the law wrt Israel is an act of stand-out courage. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That breaking the law requires the extra ‘effort’ and/or risk-taking?

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      June 28, 2013, 10:44 am

      Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That breaking the law requires the extra ‘effort’ and/or risk-taking?

      Yes, of course, but BDS is still growing and has some way to go until global consensus (it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen). Omar Barghoutis above lists some companies who are already modifying their behaviour because of BDS.

      If the product didn’t taste SO awful I’d happily go grab a meal from McDs.

      • annie
        annie
        June 28, 2013, 12:06 pm

        Omar Barghoutis above lists some companies who are already modifying their behaviour because of BDS.

        plus, don’t forget what the realtor for the mall in jposts article said:

        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.

        ouch!

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        June 28, 2013, 9:59 pm

        Agree Sumud. Just a reflection on how most of the discussion related to Israel is pretty much bass-ackwards. It’s great that BDS movement is increasingly correcting that state of discussion and/or doing (per what Annie said above).

  7. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    June 28, 2013, 12:40 am

    Everyone knows that McDonalds is just a fringe company that just wants to de legitimize Israel. Nothing to see here right? BDS isn’t going to work right? I dont eat hagen daz or Ben and Jerry’s (especially these so called socially conscious but for Palestine hypocrites)…you shouldn’t either

  8. lobewyper
    lobewyper
    June 28, 2013, 7:30 am

    “According to Irina Shalmor, spokesperson for McDonald’s Israel, the decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S. and thus far there has been no word from U.S. headquarters as they have not made themselves available for comment.”

    “Not coordinated?” Give me a break!

    • lobewyper
      lobewyper
      June 28, 2013, 8:34 am

      However, this little lie about non-coordination is even better for the good guys, because it means that an Israeli corporation (McD’s) has and continues to recognize the illegality of the occupation and is respecting international law. So, I agree with those who think this is a very important gain for BDS, but disagree with Barghouti that its a “courageous decision.” It’s pure self-interest on the part of “McD International”to avoid alienating billions of Muslims–an instance where self-interest and human rights happened to overlap…

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 30, 2013, 5:12 am

        “It’s pure self-interest on the part of “McD International”to avoid alienating billions of Muslims–an instance where self-interest and human rights happened to overlap…”

        Speaking of self-interest game that McD plays, back in 1990 it opened the Soviet Union’s first McD restaurant in Moscow, a 700 -seater when US businesses were not allowed to do business there. The opening was done under the guise that it was McD Canada that did the deal and that McD US had nothing to do with it.

        In the story here, it looks like the decision to not open was taken by McD International and is letting McD Israel take the fall for its failure to accept opening in the occupied territory.

  9. gingershot
    gingershot
    June 28, 2013, 8:49 am

    If I weren’t a vegetarian (except my Salmon BBQ speciality) and hate McD for every other reason – I would go out and chow down on a Big Mac hahaha

    Such great news – so embarrassing for the Zionists! Can’t wait to see Rachel Maddow do a story on it, and wait, and wait, and wait…

  10. MHage
    MHage
    June 28, 2013, 9:01 am

    As one of the Vermont organizers behind the Ben & Jerry’s campaign, I want to commend Omar Barghouti for reminding us that Ben & Jerry’s franchise in Israel, unlike McDonald’s, is selling and marketing its products in Israeli settlements. Please help Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel end this socially responsible corporation’s complicity in the occupation. Go to http://www.vtjp.org/icecream to learn more.

  11. Vacy
    Vacy
    June 28, 2013, 8:20 pm

    The only decent decision by Makkers- being considerate of Palestinian health by not selling their rubbish food.

  12. Sherri Munnerlyn
    Sherri Munnerlyn
    June 30, 2013, 8:29 am

    Are there McDonalds in East Jerusalem?

  13. John D
    John D
    July 1, 2013, 9:56 am

    On behalf of Palestinians living in Salfeet, I am delighted that they will not have to experience the additional sewage and other offal waste being dumped into their rivers and valleys (wadis) from above by Ariel. If the Barkan development can also experience something similar, then the quality of life for ordinary Palestinians in the villages around Salfeet will be immeasurably enhanced. Now remove all the thug “settlers” so ordinary Palestinians can enjoy a decent way of life.

  14. Tal
    Tal
    July 2, 2013, 7:18 am

    I don’t think this has to do with BDS.
    As mentioned in the article, Omri Padan the owner of Mcd Israel has always been a well known leftie since 1979 when he co-founded “Peace Now”.

    Anyway, its a good decision.

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