This post is an update on the issue of whether Starbucks’ profits have been used to support Israel, which I posted about earlier this month. Its intended especially for those who had been following the exchange of comments between Mart Stuart, Nimrod, and Kheireddine.
My aunt has posted an email she had received from a friend regarding Starbucks and its NON-connection to the Israeli government and/or military forces.
You can find the same text – a press release on “Facts about Starbucks in the Middle East”, available in Arabic and English, on the Starbucks’ website.
Or you can read it here:
It is disheartening that calls for boycotts of Starbucks stores and products, which are based on blatant untruths, have had direct impacts on local economies and residents, and have also led to violent situations involving our stores, partners (employees) and customers.
Our more than 160,000 partners and business associates around the globe have diverse views about a wide range of topics. Regardless of that spectrum of belief, Starbucks Coffee Company remains a non-political organization. We do not support any political or religious cause. Further, allegations that Starbucks provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way are unequivocally false. Unfortunately, these rumors persist despite our best efforts to refute them.
What we do believe in, and remain focused on, is staying true to our company’s long-standing heritage — simply connecting with our partners and customers over a cup of high quality coffee and offering the best experience possible to them – regardless of geographical location. Though our roots are in the United States, we are a global company with stores in 49 countries, including more than 230 stores in nine Middle Eastern countries. In countries where we do business, we are proud to be a part of the fabric of the local community — working directly with local partners who operate our stores, employing thousands of local citizens, serving millions of customers and positively impacting many others through our support of neighborhoods and cities.
Is it true that Starbucks provides financial support to Israel?
No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks Coffee Company provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement. In addition, articles in the London Telegraph (U.K.), New Straits Times (Malaysia), and Spiked (online) provide an outside perspective on these false rumors.
Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?
No. This is absolutely untrue.
Is it true that Starbucks is teaming with other American corporations to send their last several weeks of profits to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army?
No. This is absolutely untrue.
Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?
No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.
Middle East Partnership and Operations
Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?
Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates more than 274 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. In addition to its Starbucks stores, the Alshaya Group operates more than 1,700 other retail stores in the region, providing jobs for more than 15,000 employees of more than 35 nationalities.
We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for the past ten years and look forward to building on this success.
In which Middle Eastern countries do you operate?
We partner with Alshaya Group to operate Starbucks stores in Egypt, Kuwait, KSA, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Jordan and Lebanon in the Middle East region. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many communities, and we are committed to providing the Starbucks Experience while respecting the local customs and cultures of each country we are a part of. We are also committed to hiring locally, providing jobs to thousands of local citizens in the countries where we operate.
Are you still operating Starbucks stores in Israel? If not, do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?
We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.
When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis.
At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, the Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.