As humanity was beginning to figure out the layout of the world by enhancing their scientific and technological knowledge, most of them forecasted that their viciousness would shrink. However, these new developments triggered more barbarity and elicited gloating battling techniques that aimed to foster insatiable human desires. After World War II, international organizations and agreements such as NATO in 1949 (North Atlantic Treaties Organization), the UN in 1945 (United Nations), and the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947 were established in order to achieve ever-lasting peace in the world. In spite of these exertions, ultimate peace has never been accomplished throughout history owing to the conflicts occurring all around the world.
A conflict that has been going on for years on end is the Israeli-Palestinian war. With its initiation in the mid-twentieth century, the conflict showed itself in the agenda again in 2023 with the demonstration of humanity’s cruelty. Due to this conflict, until 15 November, more than 12,000 people were killed, according to CPJ (Center for Public Justice). More than 10,000 Palestinian residents in Gaza and West Bank, and 1,200 Israeli people were included in the number of deaths. While we can read all these data from hundreds of online platforms, they will never be enough to depict the horrendous and painful times these people are going through.
Reactions to the Conflict Arise
Despite all the ongoing conflicts throughout the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian has differed from others by the magnitude of its impacts on the international scope. Numerous countries, namely the United States, Russia, Tunisia, China, and Türkiye;
world-scale organizations, like the UN and EU (European Union), and monopolies in the world market, such as Amazon, McDonald's, Mercedes-Benz, and Starbucks have declared their stance on this conflict. Hundreds of other countries and companies, however, have decided to stay silent in order not to get damaged by the consequences of this turmoil.
Before social media was this popular, no brand was eager to root for a specific side during conflicts; however, through social media, people triggered these brands to take a side in international disputes. Therefore, throughout the years, people have found the power to protest these brands and implement boycotts against them whenever they think that these brands violate human rights. Via the tweets these protestors posted, the stories they uploaded, and the captions they’ve written, they managed to take immediate action. This is exactly what happened to the company “Starbucks” in the current Israel-Palestine conflict.
Protests Regarding Starbucks and Its Policies
Starbucks is an American multinational coffeehouse that is known as the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. On October 11, 2023, its chief partner officer, Sarah Kelly, expressed the company’s support for Israel and condemned acts of violence, terrorism, and hate. She highlighted their support with these words: “As a leadership team, we want to again express our deepest sympathy for those who have been killed, wounded, displaced and impacted following the heinous acts of terror, escalating violence and hate against the innocent in Israel and Gaza this week.” This discourse elicited riots all over the globe, with groups of people defending Palestine and innocent people getting severely damaged by the war.
Last week, in one of the remonstrations against Starbucks, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at Howard University organized a "Chalk the Block" boycott of McDonald's and Starbucks because of their support to Israel. Students deeply disturbed by this act of violence are in full support of Palestine, and they continue to boycott these companies. Around thirty students congregated in front of Starbucks on Georgia Avenue during the course of the day, writing words of support and encouragement for Palestinians.
Additionally, intense protest actions were seen in a couple of cities in Türkiye. For instance, in Istanbul, Esenyurt, on November 12th, a group of men attacked a Starbucks shop with rocks in their hands. They were successful and managed to break all the windows of the store. Nobody, including the Starbucks employee and the customers, was hurt.
Similarly, in Kocaeli province, on the same day, several people forcibly took the drinks of young customers of Starbucks and criticized them for purchasing products from a brand that supports Israel. After the videos of this group went viral, police became involved and took the statements of three people.
Although protestors were condemning the hate acts of Israel, their manners were seen as inappropriate by the public. Apparently, some of these actions didn’t end well due to the police getting involved in the protests. While these protests might give protestors the satisfaction of protecting and fighting for what they believe in, there are still multiple questions to be addressed “Will Starbucks alter its approach to the issue by paying attention to the ongoing protests conducted against the company, or maintain their support to Israel?” Only time can show us how Palestinian supporters have helped to change these companies’ ideas, if they have at all.
Jones, Kathy. “Journalist Casualties in the Israel-Gaza War.” Committee to Protect Journalists, 15 Nov. 2023
Al Jazeera. “Photos: More Death and Destruction in Gaza as Israeli Attacks Continue.” Al Jazeera, 13 Nov. 2023
An-Sofie Claeys, Associate professor of Corporate Communication at Ghent University, et al. “How Are Businesses Responding to the Israel Hamas War?” Euronews
11, October. “Message from Sara: Supporting Partners during the Ongoing Israel-Gaza Attacks .” Starbucks Stories
Lewis, ByJoy Young and Eliana. “Students Call for Boycotting Starbucks, McDonald’s over Israel-Gaza War - the Hilltop.” The Hilltop - The Nation’s Oldest Black Collegiate Newspaper, 15 Nov. 2023
“Group Attacks Starbucks Store in Turkey with Rocks over Alleged Israel Support.” Duvar English, 12 Nov. 2023
“Kahveleri Yere Fırlatmışlardı... Starbucks’taki ‘Zorla İsrail Protestosunda’ 3 Kişi Serbest Kaldı.”, 14 Nov. 2023