Coca-Cola touts its Palestinian employment creds amid boycott calls

·2-min read
Coca-Cola touts its Palestinian employment creds amid boycott calls
Coca-Cola touts its Palestinian employment creds amid boycott calls

Coca-Cola has touted its track record in providing jobs to Palestinians amid a call to boycott the company as the conflict between Israel and Gaza continues to escalate.

In a statement today, Coca-Cola Malaysia said calls for a boycott were based on "false information" and rumours, and a "lack of understanding" of the company's Middle East operations.

"We remain deeply concerned about the ongoing violence in Israel and in Gaza and its severe impact on communities in the region.

"Coca-Cola and our local bottler NBC, have a long-standing commitment to the Palestinian market, having begun production in 1998 and we are today one of the largest employers in the territories," it said.

As of 2016, Coca-Cola, through NBC, was the third-largest employer in Palestine.

Its ties with NBC owner Zahi Khouri, who is a supporter of the anti-zionist Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, has also earned brickbats from pro-Israel groups.

However, Coca-Cola has also been accused of profiting from illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.

In 2017, it was reported that the company would be placed on a UN Human Rights Council blacklist of companies operating in illegal settlements, but was not in the final published version.

The fresh calls to boycott Coca-Cola and other companies with alleged ties to Israel came amid fierce fighting between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza.

Over 200 people died by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, while Hamas rockets fired into Israel has killed at least 10 people.

In its statement today, Coca-Cola said boycotts in Malaysia, however, would only hurt Malaysians.

"While Coca-Cola is a global brand, all our bottling operations are local. Coca-Cola is made here in Malaysia, for Malaysians, by Malaysians.

"So the very first people to be hurt by boycott calls are our local employees, followed by the thousands of retailers, distributors and suppliers throughout our supply chain in Malaysia who rely upon us for their livelihoods," the company said.

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