A logo is seen on a Coca-Cola bottle .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli NGO Shurat Hadin is calling on international beverage giant Coca-Cola to drop its Palestinian franchise and clearly state its opposition to boycotts against Israel.
In a letter released Monday, Shurat Hadin said that "The Coca-Cola Company should rescind its franchise agreement with the Palestinian National Beverage Company, headed by Zahi Khouri, who openly advocates for BDS against Israel," adding that Coca-Cola should not associate with any entity advocating a boycott of Israel.
Signed by Shurat Hadin leaders, Israel Law Center head Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and the NGO's US counsel Robert J. Tolchin, the letter pointed to statements made by Khouri where he openly voiced support for he Boycott, Divest and Sanciton movement, such as in op-ed pieces for large American papers such as The Washington Post
and The Orlando Sentinel
"The BDS movement’s goal is solely the destruction of the State of Israel and its Jewish community," the letter reads. "It masquerades as a human rights movement, but it is singularly fixated on Israel and Jews and ignores egregious human rights abuses that do not feed its anti-Israel agenda."
Darshan-Leitner and Tolchin point out legislation in Congress, in the process of being formulated, that would discourage any form of politically-motivated boycott against Israel.
"We wish to put The Coca-Cola Company on notice that the BDS movement’s efforts are unlawful racial discrimination on the basis of national origin and/or race, creed and religion under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“Anti-Racism Convention”) and numerous US state and federal statutes," they write.
Shurat Hadin also pointed out Coca Cola's own company policy saying the company "must abide by US anti-boycott laws that prohibit companies from participating in any international boycott not sanctioned by the US government."
The NGO says that its letter to Coca-Cola is meant to serve as a warning to the company that legal action could be taken.
"Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center will take all steps permitted by law to ensure that The Coca-Cola Company is not engaged in instituting, promoting or inciting boycotts."
Coca-cola's franchises are not held to the same standard as the parent company.
The letter ends by calling to mind the recent spat between Israel and Orange Telecom
. "As the French telecom-services firm Orange recently made clear, The Coca-Cola Company should also make clear that it will not support any kind of boycott against Israel."