(iviews.com) U.S. Muslims are renewing a boycott of the fast food giant Burger King amid allegations the corporation reneged on its agreement to remove its logo from a food court in an illegal West Bank settlement.
Boycott organizers from American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) initiated the action after Burger King executives reportedly did not re-commit to earlier promises that the franchise would be removed. The restaurant is still operating in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, located three miles east of Jerusalem. Palestinians believe the settlement was established on confiscated land in an attempt to consolidate control over Jerusalem.
"We urge people of conscience to reject Burger King, its products and its regrettable embrace of an occupation the international community has declared illegal. We will continue this call until Burger King implements its August 26, 1999 commitment to its consumers to "remove the Burger King brand from (Ma'ale Adumim) immediately," a statement released this week by AMJ said.
The group referred to a promise made earlier by the Burger King Corporation to shut down the franchise. In a statement released in late August of last year, Burger King announced it had cancelled the right of Rikamore, Ltd., an independent franchisee in Israel, to operate a Burger King food court counter in Ma'ale Adumim.
"... Rikamor falsely informed Burger King that the food court would be located in Israel. It had been clearly understood between the two companies that Burger King would not approve Rikamor opening restaurants in the West Bank at this sensitive time in the peace process," the Burger King statement said.
The company has said it has no interest in taking sides in the Arab-Israeli issue, but said it made its decision based upon "a commercial basis and in the best interests of the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on the Burger King reputation for their livelihood."
Burger King officials could not be reached for comment.
Since 1993, Burger King has encouraged the expansion of its outlets in Israel - 46 to date - along with an Israeli-based supply network. Burger King executives say they are interested in opening more restaurants throughout the Middle East and currently have restaurants in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. There are more than 130 Burger King restaurants in the region, including a newly opened one in Jordan. Plans are underway for expansion to Lebanon.
Burger King Corporation and its franchisees operate more than 10,500 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states and 54 countries and international territories around the world. The corporation is a part of Diageo, the international food and drinks company which produces alcoholic beverages such as Johnnie Walker and J&B Scotch whiskies, Smirnoff vodka, Gordon's gin, Baileys cream liqueur, and Guinness stout.