Anti-Burger King campaigners to target American stores

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Muslim groups promoting a boycott of Burger King for opening a restaurant in a Jewish settlement on disputed land are urging supporters to hold demonstrations next week at stores across America.

"Next week Muslims, Arabs and concerned persons across the country will be showing their disapproval of the restaurant in the West Bank by protesting at local Burger King outlets," American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) said in a statement emailed to supporters.

The group wants protestors to use slogans playing on Burger King's current advertising line "It just tastes better," such as "It just tastes of prejudice" or "It just tastes bitter."

"Burger King's decision to close the restaurant in Ma'ale Adumim will be one based
on a business bottom line - potential loss of profits," AMJ executive director Khalid Turaani said Thursday.

"We hope the community will continue its efforts to help Burger King make the right decision with the right urgency."

AMJ believes a statement by the Miami-based company indicates that it may soon capitulate to the protestors' demands.

According to the organization, Burger King said it "takes this matter extremely seriously and is working diligently with its Israeli franchisee to resolve the situation with the utmost sense of urgency."

Counter-protests by Jewish and Christian groups are meanwhile continuing.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sent the company a letter praising it for opening the store.

Pointing out that Ma'ale Adumim is "slightly beyond" the borders Israel had until 1967, the ZOA said there was consensus across the Israeli political spectrum that the town would "always be a part of Israel."

"Just as Burger King has restaurants in numerous Arab countries, it has every moral and legal right to open one in a Jewish community near Jerusalem," said ZOA president Morton Klein in a statement.

"The new Burger King in Ma'ale Adumim will be equally open to residents of Ma'ale Adumim and to the residents of adjoining Arab towns. If Burger King wanted to open a restaurant in an Arab town in the Palestinian Authority areas, where no Jews would ever visit, the Arab League and its allies would be delighted. To say that Arab towns can have Burger Kings but Jewish ones cannot, is anti-Jewish racism."

The National Unity Coalition For Israel, a grouping of 200 Jewish and Christian organizations has also entered the fray.

"Sadly, the campaign to harm Burger King reflects the current mentality of Israel's 'peace partners'," the coalition said this week.

"Their opposition to American corporations doing business in Israel, is an attempt to further their own political agenda at the expense of the free enterprise system in the Middle East."

And Americans for a Safe Israel chairman Herbert Zweibon said the boycott "doesn't speak well for the peace process.

"In the new Middle East, where trade and commerce are supposed to be the offshoots of 'peace,' it is an ominous sign that American enterprise is thwarted with threats."

The Arab League will decide at a summit early next month whether or not to pass a resolution that will result in the closure of Burger King branches in Arab countries.

Organizations involved in the boycott campaign include the American Muslim Alliance, American Task Force for Palestine, Arab American Institute, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and National Association of Arab Americans.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow