Customers flee as demonstrators express displeasure with coffee chain’s pro-Israel CEO
Protesters from a leftist group shouted anti-Israel slogans outside of a Starbucks coffee shop Wednesday during a protest in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.
Demonstrators tried to block the entrance to the shop, thereby causing customers inside to flee. The protesters said they targeted the store because they claim that Howard Schultz, the company’s CEO, chairman and president, donates money to the Israeli military.
During the protest, one of the demonstrators attempted to chain himself inside the coffee shop.
No Starbucks in Israel
Starbucks has been inactive in Israel since 2003, after the branches it opened in the country did not show any profits in two years.
The company’s CEO, Schultz, is known for his pro-Israel statements in recent years. At the height of the second Intifada, he delivered a speech at a Seattle Conference and condemned the Palestinians for not putting an end to terrorism.
Schultz later softened his messages in response to criticism leveled at him by various Arab and Muslim elements.
Similar protests already took place in the Lebanese capital as early as in 2002, when local students were planning to target various Western companies they accused of supporting Israel.