Cii News | 10 December 2014

Coming hot on the heels of its successful #HandsOffAlAqsa campaign, UK based NGO, Friends of Al Aqsa(FOA) has launched a brand new popular drive, this time aimed at a ubiquitous global brand it says is aiding the oppression of the Palestinian people.

Creatively dubbed the #NotInMyFridge campaign, FOA says it is calling through the drive for a global boycott of Coca-Cola in response to the multinational’s “support of Israel and it’s illegal and immoral occupation.”

“We must be clear, no matter how big a company is, its brand will be damaged if it supports the illegal occupation of Palestine,” the NGO states in its campaign material.

In an interview with Cii Radio, FOA Chairman Ismail Adam Patel said the campaign underscored that the time had come to sacrifice personal preferences for the sake of justice.

“People have become accustomed to drinking Coca Cola. They consider it a status symbol to have it at their events. This is a culture we need to break, (we need to show) that there are greater priorities..A sacrifice is definitely required. It has become part and parcel of our way of life and that is what we are challenging.”

Patel said among the reasons why Coke was now being targeted was it unashamed patronizing of the Israeli Occupation.

Friends of Al Aqsa has cited 4 main reasons as the drivers of its campaign:

  • Coke has partnered with the America Israel Business Connector to promote Israeli companies globally – using the ‘Bridge’ project. This defies the boycott call.
  • Coke violates international law and supports Israel’s occupation by operating in Atarot and Shadmot illegal settlements. It owns a dairy and a distribution plant in these illegal settlements.
  • Buying produce from companies which operate in settlements means we as consumers are complicit in Israel’s illegal actions.
  • Coke owns Tabor Winery in the stolen and occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Tabor’s web-site shows utter disregard for the real ownership of the land, instead falsely claiming that it is Israeli.

“What Coke is doing as a multinational is exploiting the Palestinian people and trying to empower the Israeli Occupation. An everybody anywhere throughout the globe who are supporting Coke are part of the oppression. And therefore we should do whatever we can, on moral and ethical grounds, to stop buying Coke,” Patel said.

The campaigner added that the drive was being supported and had been endorsed directly by Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Patel said recent high profile Coca Cola marketing campaigns, specifically in predominantly Muslim communities, seeking to claim its support for the Israeli occupation was untrue is sufficient evidence that informal calls to boycott the company were bearing fruit.

He said that the company’s contention that it in fact employs Palestinians and uplifts the local economy was misleading.

“This is something South Africans won’t find difficult to comprehend. Barclays Bank during the days of Apartheid came forth with the same argument that they were supporting the indigenous South Africans by having branches in South Africa. (But) the mere fact that they were supporting the South African regime, meant that the international community had to call for a boycott against them. Coke is similar. They do have investments in the West Bank, that is true. But that is a drop in the ocean compared to what they are contributing to the Israeli economy”.

Patel says his organisation is calling for supporters of justice worldwide to show their disdain for Coke in 3 ways:

  • Completely Boycotting the Product
  • Taking a fridge selfie or recording a video and posting it up on social media using #NotInMyFridge on 20 December from 1:00 PM (GMT) onwards.
  • Joining the Twitter storm at 1:00 PM(GMT) on 20 December using the #NotInMyFridge hashtag

“If you want freedom for the Palestinians, if you call for justice, if you want equity, and if you want Masjidul Aqsa to be Free, then I think you can start it by yourself by not drinking Coke,” Patel concluded.