Starbucks Boycott Turns Violent

The plight of Howard Schultz, who has in the 2009 slump seen the star and bucks fading from his legendary enterprise, is multifaceted. The reason why I am watching his case at close quarters is that the hatred of him by Muslims turned to ruthless violence in London only a few weeks ago. As Passover came to an end we were hearing that the supermarket chain Tesco had opened a customer hotline to deal with a deluge of complaints about the store selling Israeli goods. (Unfortunately there are no British matzah-makers so the Jew-haters were seething that the small, 260,000-in-number Anglo-Jewish community dared to want to buy Israeli matzot.) The anger about Israeli produce and products for sale in Britain has to be taken seriously. I have seen the rage that a request for "Israeli" or "kosher" inspires in shop assistants -- and I am genuinely beginning to fear for the safety of stores. In Edgware, a leafy suburb of London, an Israeli family living in a not-so-affluent part of the area suffers constant harassment.

This takes us to the violence against Starbucks, which miraculously did not result in any fatalities but to me is a harbinger of things to come. The Zionist-hating websites have been fiercely blogging since the Operation Cast Lead campaign in Gaza and on MPACUK bloggers were urging one another to come out in force to the demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy. Sadly, the Kensington neighborhood suffered damage and fear.

The firebombing of a Starbucks in Whitechapel came just after the trashing of a Starbucks opposite the Israeli embassy and then two more were smashed to bits in London's crowded West End. Brendan O'Neill, at Spiked, on the whole "Starbucks-as-funders-of-Zionist-aggression" theme as it spreads through the world of apoplectic anti-Zionists:

Many of the claims about "Zionist coffee" and a link between Starbucks and the Israeli military spring from a letter allegedly written by CEO Howard Schultz. Dated 11 July 2006, and titled "A Thank You to All Starbucks Customers," Schultz apparently said that "with every cup you drink at Starbucks you are helping with a noble cause: ensuring the continued viability and prospering of the Jewish state." ...

However, the "Schultz letter" is a hoax. ... The letter was written by Andrew Winkler, an Australian-based anti-Zionist media activist of German origin. It was published as a parody of Schultz on the anti-Zionist website ZioPedia on 11 July 2006. Winkler later wrote: "The Howard Schultz spoof letter has caused quite a bit of a stir. ... Howard Schultz never wrote that letter; I did."

O'Neill continues:

Yet now it has become something like a modern, internet-shared version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: a hoax document supposedly written by a Jew which is cited by some people as evidence of Zionist wickedness.

So, as Howard Schultz deals with the Muslim world attempting a boycott because they see Queen Esther in his logo and the real-life violence against his shops, I suggest he close down the chain and sell it to an enterprising Arab who will put King Faisal in the logo and then there will be peace. Joking aside, the violence that ensued in the recent anti-Israel demonstrations in London was a serious manifestation of the way blogging and the ensuing hate-mongering can transform into destruction. Jewish entrepreneurs beware.