I like Starbucks.
That is probably because I don’t really like coffee. However, I do like their signature hot chocolate, and I adore their gingerbread syrup. I don’t drink it too often, because I suspect its intense sweetness will ultimately lead me down the path of diabetes.
Starbucks is not, however, universally popular. In particular, Starbucks is the subject of a pernicious lie. Here it is being peddled by the MP for Blackburn Burnley Bolton Bradford West, George Galloway:
“Starbucks every year gives a large cheque to Israel, and maintains a Starbucks coffee shop in every illegal settlement in the occupied Palestinian lands. There is blood in this coffee.”
“It’s not enough to say Israel has no embassy here. Okay good. But Starbucks has an embassy. Who need an embassy when Starbucks is here, on every street corner, in every mall?”
For this reason, Starbucks has been firebombed in this country: the crime described as follows by the “peace activists” of Indymedia:
Smashing the Israeli war machine – Starbucks, Whitechapel firebombed
On a different front, Starbucks tax structuring, which results in it paying no corporation tax in the United Kingdom has resulted in it being targeted by UK Uncut, who are apparently going to open womens’ refuges, homeless shelters and creches on its premises.
Starbucks now faces a new opponent: the anti-gay Christian Right in the United States. The Huffington Post reports:
Starbucks’ support of same-sex marriage in Washington state was praised by a number of prominent rights activists. But the Seattle-based coffee chain’s outspoken opponents seem determined to have the last word.
The Colorado Independent reports that officials from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have vowed to make Starbucks (along with other companies that support same-sex marriage) pay a “price” in Middle Eastern countries that are hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The statements were made during a Nov. 8 conference call, scheduled as a discussion of the 2012 elections which saw sweeping marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, as well as Starbucks’ home state of Washington.
“So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this,” Brian Brown says in audio recording of the conference call, which can heard on the Independent’s website. “These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”
There is a certain coincidence between certain of the attitudes of Islamists and other religious conservatives in the Middle East, and the religious Right in the West. Anti-gay Christian and Muslim activists have worked together in the United Kingdom to oppose sex education in Tower Hamlets. So I’m not surprised to see such alliances forming. When it comes to Starbucks, already the subject of lies and disinformation in the Middle East, I expect they’ll find that their message of hatred and intolerance will be lapped up.
In fact, I’m surprised that Starbucks hasn’t yet been accused of using its support for equality denounced as “Pinkwashing” to cover their supposed crimes in supporting Israel’s existence – a country in which they have not a single shop.