3 Facts about the Starbucks Boycott Movement, Does It Really Support Israel? Lifestyle – 43 minutes ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – A number of companies or brands originating from and supporting Israel have begun to be boycotted by many people around the world. The boycott is a form of strong protest against Israel’s attacks on Palestine.

One of the companies targeted for the boycott is Starbucks. It is known that Starbucks is the largest coffee shop company in the world which was founded in the United States (US). According to Statista data, Starbucks is recorded as having 35,771 stores worldwide by 2022.

As a result of the boycott movement, a number of Starbucks stores are reportedly starting to become quiet. One of them is a row of Starbucks in Qatar. In a video circulating on X (formerly Twitter), almost all Starbucks outlets in Qatar had almost no visitors.


Actually, how did the Starbucks boycott movement begin due to the war between the Palestinian Islamic Group, Hamas and Israel? Here are 3 facts, summarized from various sources:

1. Starbucks Management Sues the Workers Union

A worker puts away patio furniture at a Starbucks Corp drive-through location closes down this afternoon for anti-bias training as the coffee chain closed all 8,000 of their company-owned cafes in the US including this location in Oceanside, California, U.S. .  May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mike BlakePhoto: REUTERS/Mike Blake
A worker puts away patio furniture at a Starbucks Corp drive-through location closes down this afternoon for anti-bias training as the coffee chain closed all 8,000 of their company-owned cafes in the US including this location in Oceanside, California, U.S. . May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The start of the boycott targeting Starbucks was after management sued the workers’ union, Starbucks Workers United, in early October 2023. The lawsuit emerged after the organization expressed solidarity with Palestinians. However, the solidarity statement uploaded via X has been deleted.

According to Starbucks’ official statement, the lawsuit was filed because Starbucks Workers United was deemed to have misused the company’s name, logo and intellectual property.

“Workers United, its local affiliates, union officials, and those who identify as members of Starbucks Workers United do not represent Starbucks Coffee Company and do not represent the company’s views, positions, or beliefs,” said Starbucks Executive Vice President and Chief Partner Officer, Sara Kelly, quoted Thursday (2/11/2023).

“Such reckless and reprehensible behavior must be addressed through the lens of the safety of our partners and the clarity of Starbucks’ official position publicly condemning violence in the region,” Kelly continued.

The union has also filed a countersuit against Starbucks. They called the lawsuit an attempt to damage the union and undermine their organizing efforts.

2. Starbucks Provides Clarification regarding the Israeli-Palestinian War

In a separate statement, Starbucks emphasized that it condemns acts of terrorism, hatred and violence. Additionally, management again expressed disagreement with the views expressed by Workers United.

According to management, all statements and actions of Workers United are the responsibility of each individual without involving Starbucks as a whole.

“Starbucks again extends our deepest sympathies to those killed, injured, displaced, and impacted by the heinous and unacceptable acts of terror, escalating violence, and hatred against innocent people in Israel and Gaza,” Starbucks wrote in a statement 11 October 2023.

“As a statement, we unequivocally condemn these acts of terrorism, hatred and violence, and disagree with the statements and views expressed by Workers United and its members,” said Starbucks management.

3. Starbucks Answers Questions About Supporting Israel

FILE - In this March 22, 2017 file photo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle.  For someone who has given about $150,000 to Democratic campaigns over the year, Schultz is generating tepid, or even hostile, responses within the party as he weighs a presidential bid in 2020. That's because reports have suggested he's considering running as an independent, a prospect that could draw support away from the eventual Democratic nominee and hand President Donald Trump another four years in office, many frets.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)Photo: FILE – In this March 22, 2017 file photo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In 2014, Starbucks released a question and answer column regarding its support for Israel. One of the most frequently asked questions to Starbucks is regarding financial support for Israel.

“No. This is not true. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or army are completely false,” explained Starbucks.

“Starbucks is a public company and as a company it is obliged to disclose all forms of corporate donations every year through a proxy statement,” continued Starbucks.

Apart from that, Starbucks also emphasized that it has never sent any portion of its profits to the Israeli government and/or army.

In the same column, Starbucks also stated that it ended its partnership in Israel in 2003 because of operational challenges, not political issues. According to management, all business decisions are never based on political issues.

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