Tags: starbucks | israel | howard schultz

Starbucks Israel Controversy: What Does Howard Schultz Say About It?

By    |   Monday, 24 Nov 2014 02:30 PM

Howard Schultz, the CEO of mega coffee retailer Starbucks, has not addressed the controversy surrounding the company’s departure from Israel, but a company spokesperson has served as his mouthpiece as the debate ensued.

In a reported cost-cutting, strictly business decision, Starbucks in 2003 closed all of its stores in Israel, but has continued to maintain a presence in other nearby Middle Eastern countries. Starbucks’ 2003 decision caused uproar within some contingents of the population, and the furor has ebbed and flowed in the years since as some advocates have described the company as anti-Israeli.

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Schultz is of Israeli descent but grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. His origins have added fuel to the fire. Starbucks itself commented on Schultz and his and the company’s statement on the Israel decision in a company statement in August 2014.

The closest published report on Schultz’s views of Starbucks in Israel, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, comes through Starbucks itself and the Aug. 5, 2014, statement on its website. The company has asserted that neither it, nor Schultz, provide financial support to the Israeli government or Israeli military. 

The statement further reads, “Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.”

According to a report in the Jewish Daily Forward, Starbucks turned down its request to interview Schultz himself on the issue of Israeli politics and the company’s retrenchment in the country. But a Starbucks spokesman did say, “The company and Mr. Schultz have been steadfast in urging peace in the Middle East and a stable and safe Israel.” 

While Schultz himself has been mum on the Israeli issue, the Starbucks CEO has spoken openly about other political issues in the past. As part of his leadership, Schultz his stirred in a position, through Starbucks, in support of marriage equality and gun control.

While some of Schultz’ and Starbucks’ views could be viewed as liberal leaning, other stances have been more conservative. The company has been lukewarm to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, and the ongoing debate concerning minimum wage.

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Howard Schultz, the CEO of mega coffee retailer Starbucks, has not addressed the controversy surrounding the company’s departure from Israel, but a company spokesperson has served as his mouthpiece as the debate ensued.
starbucks, israel, howard schultz
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2014-30-24
Monday, 24 Nov 2014 02:30 PM
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