McDonald’s Israel Refuses to Build in Illegal Settlements
The McDonald’s restaurant chain refused to open a branch in a West Bank Jewish settlement, the company said Thursday, adding a prominent name to an international movement to boycott Israel’s settlements.
Irina Shalmor, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Israel, said the owners of a planned mall in the Ariel settlement asked McDonald’s to open a branch there about six months ago. Shalmor said the chain refused because the owner of McDonald’s Israel has a policy of staying out of the occupied territories. The decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S., she said. In an email, the headquarters said “our partner in Israel has determined that this particular location is not part of his growth plan.”
The Israeli branch’s owner and franchisee, Omri Padan, is a founder of the dovish group Peace Now, which opposes all settlements and views them as obstacles to peace. The group said Padan is no longer a member.
The decision by such a well-known multinational company to boycott the West Bank deals settlers an unwelcome blow.
Without a trace of irony, supporters of Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank are calling for a boycott of McDonald’s. No doubt a call for divestment and sanctions won’t be far behind.
Kudos to Padan for putting principle ahead of profit. With luck, his example will inspire other large corporations to do the same.