WASHINGTON, DC: Burger King built its reputation as the fast-food restaurant that let customers have it their way. But American Muslims for Jerusalem aren’t going to be asking the chain to hold the pickles or lettuce any time soon.
WASHINGTON, DC: Burger King built its reputation as the fast-food
restaurant that let customers have it their way. But American Muslims
for Jerusalem aren’t going to be asking the chain to hold the pickles or
lettuce any time soon.
Claiming that Burger King is a partner in Israel’s attempt to decide the
future of the West Bank, the group is renewing its call for a worldwide
boycott by Muslims and non-Muslims.
Fahhim Abdulhadi, communications director for American Muslims for
Jerusalem, contends the boycott comes at a time when Burger King is
looking to expand its overseas markets. But Ken Bricker, a spokesman for
the American Israel Public Affairs Council, argued that the boycott call
will likely amount to little more than posturing.
’Boycotts like this traditionally do not work,’ he explained. ’In terms
of PR, they provide bang for the buck. But they’re difficult to
enforce.’ Despite Abdulhadi’s statements about Burger King coveting a
presence in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Bricker said that
he questions whether Muslims in the region are strong customers of the
The ’Occupation Just Tastes Bitter’ boycott was announced on August 5,
1999, just a few weeks after a Burger King franchisee opened a
restaurant on the West Bank. Following a series of protests, Burger King
asked the franchisee to remove its logo and products.
According to Abdulhadi, the fast-food chain’s presence on the West Bank
runs counter to the fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits attempts
by countries to move their civilian populations into the territories
they occupy. ’The franchise adds legitimacy to it,’ said Abdulhadi, who
noted that McDonald’s has thus far stayed away from the West Bank.
Burger King responded to a request for comment by faxing a statement
noting that the company and its franchisee had not come to any final
agreement about the use of the corporate logo and brand products, and
that the matter had been referred to ’international arbitration.’