JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli civil rights group has called on Coca-Cola to sever ties with its Palestinian subsidiary over calls by its head to boycott Israel.
In addition, the Zionist Organization of America has condemned Zahi Khouri, CEO of Coca-Cola Palestine, for calling for an economic boycott of Israel, and has called on Coca-Cola to immediately and publicly condemn and repudiate his remarks.
In a Sept. 14 column in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, Khouri expressed his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. He also called for the involvement of the international community in forcing Israel into a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In the op-ed he is identified as chairman of the Palestinian Tourism Co. in Ramallah.
Khouri’s column and support of BDS was referenced on Monday in an op-ed in the New York Observer.
“Zahi Khouri’s anti-Semitic remarks confirm him as an opponent of the Jewish State of Israel’s existence, one who seeks to ostracize, damage and ultimately overcome Israel by means of the BDS campaign of continual, progressive delegitimization of Israel so as to compel it to make untenable concessions to a Palestinian movement that has no intention of living in peace with Israel,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said in a statement issued Tuesday in response to the op-ed.
“This is unacceptable and indeed in conflict with Khouri’s role as CEO of a Coca-Cola subsidiary,” Klein said.
In a letter to Coca-Cola CEO Mukhtar Kent, Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center warned the company that Khouri’s actions violate U.S. and international laws and threatened a lawsuit.
“This letter is a warning to the Coca-Cola Company that it should rescind its franchise agreement with the Palestinian National Beverage Company, headed by Zahi Khouri, who openly advocates for BDS against Israel. The Coca-Cola Company should not affiliate itself with any person or entity calling for a boycott or similar effort against the Israeli government or the nation’s manufacturers, companies, products or services,” read the letter.
Shurat HaDin also called on Coca-Cola to make clear that it will not support any kind of boycott against Israel.