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  • 23 Apr, 2024

As the anti-Israel boycott movement gains traction, McDonald's and Starbucks are feeling the heat both financially and in terms of public perception.

McDonald's franchise in Egypt has experienced a noticeable drop in sales after it was exposed that their franchise in Palestinian territories offered complimentary meals and discounts to the Israeli military. This revelation sparked calls for consumers to boycott the franchise, causing other McDonald's franchises in Muslim countries to distance themselves from the controversial action and express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

Collectively, McDonald's branches in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Turkey have pledged over $3 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza. The boycott movement has now extended its reach to include other multinational fast-food chains, including Starbucks, which has suffered significant financial losses due to its connections with Israel.

Despite attempts by both McDonald's and Starbucks to regain market share through discounts and enticing offers, they continue to face criticism and a decline in their customer base. Additional brands perceived to favor Israel are also feeling the repercussions of the boycott movement.

Several prominent American corporations, including Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's, along with beloved brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Wix, Puma, and Zara, which have expressed support for Israel or maintained lucrative business connections and investments in the region, found themselves entangled in controversy and confronted with fervent demands for boycott.

BDS is back in the spotlight

Once more, the limelight falls upon the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the fervent grassroots refusal to endorse Israeli aggression towards Palestinians gains momentum.

In the year 2005, an alliance comprising approximately 170 Palestinian civil society organizations established what is now known as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement.

This peaceful movement ardently champions economic and cultural boycotts, financial divestment, and government sanctions as powerful tools to compel Israel to adhere to international law and terminate its oppressive apartheid policies against Palestinians, who, without question, deserve the same fundamental rights as any other member of the global community.

With its targeted approach, this work seeks to challenge Western backing of Israel by highlighting specific corporations and merchandise that actively contribute to Israel's actions against the Palestinian people.

In the words of the esteemed Omar Bargouhti, a prominent co-founder of the BDS movement, it is noteworthy to mention that the recent wave of boycotts targeting renowned Western brands such as McDonald's did not stem directly from the BDS itself. However, it has undeniably amplified curiosity and engagement with the movement.

“The fact that many spontaneous boycott activists are now turning to the BDS movement for advice on building strategic and sustainable campaigns gives us hope that this is truly beyond ending Israel's current genocidal war in the Gaza Strip - supported by the US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia and others - we can channel all this unprecedented outrage into strategic campaigns that can actually reduce much of the ongoing complicity in Israeli crimes,” Barghuhti was quoted as saying in the media.

Israel, for countless years, has steadfastly committed an entire ministry to combatting the formidable BDS movement.

In a 2013 Israeli report, which has been selectively edited, it is suggested that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement may inflict a substantial financial toll on the Tel Aviv government, amounting to a staggering $11.5 billion annually.

In a report published by the esteemed Rand Corporation in 2015, it was postulated that the implementation of nonviolent Palestinian resistance, encompassing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, had the potential to inflict a staggering $15 billion blow to Israel's gross domestic product.

In contemporary times, Israel's diplomatic endeavors have placed paramount importance on countering the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, while its esteemed leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has taken decisive measures to prohibit associations advocating for this cause.

"While we may not always have a significant economic impact on the franchise, we do so to condemn Israel's appalling actions in the Gaza Strip and as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. They are using their purchasing power,” boycotter Fatima told the Press TV website.

In the realm of economic academia, the erudite postgraduate hailing from the prestigious University of Tehran eloquently conveyed the notion that a synchronized and unwavering boycott possesses the extraordinary capacity to curtail financial resources and yield a profound influence.

“We have a say in how these companies spend the money we pay them, so I believe taking this kind of collective action against Israel and its supporters can raise awareness in communities, empower people and challenge the status quo,” she noted.