images73The Arab and Muslim world is awash with anti-Semitism. Some times it is blatant, sometimes it is in the guise of anti-Zionism. Sometimes it’s just plain ludicrous.

A video on the MEMRI website has been posted which shows an Egyptian cleric railing against Starbucks. This time the canard that Starbucks gave money to Israel and/or the Israeli Army is avoided. Instead Safwat Higazi concentrates on the Jewish symbolism of the Starbucks logo. Yes, you read correctly. Now read on.

Apparently the logo depicts Queen Esther.

This queen is the queen of the Jews. She is mentioned in the Torah, in the Book of Esther. The girl you see is Esther, the queen of the Jews in Persia.

the MEMRI video translates. He goes on to urge good Muslims to boycott the Starbucks stores in the Middle-East.  After a complete misrepresentation of the Purim story, which he has clearly never read, thence to the peroration:

We Want Starbucks To Be Shut Down Throughout The Arab And Islamic World… Can you believe that in Mecca, Al-Madina, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, and all over the Islamic world there hangs the picture of beautiful Queen Esther, with a crown on her head, and we buy her products?

What do you notice about this story? Israel is not mentioned at all. It’s a rant against Jews. Why should this man be stirring up trouble without grounds (all puns intended, by the way)?

For some time rumours have been spread that Starbucks gave money to Israel and the IDF.  This is denied on the Starbucks website:

Is it true that Starbucks provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks Coffee Company 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. In addition, articles in the London Telegraph (U.K.), New Straits Times (Malaysia), and Spiked (online) provide an outside perspective on these false rumors.

 Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

 Is it true that Starbucks is teaming with other American corporations to send their last several weeks of profits to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Clearly Mr Higazi has heard these rumours and presumably he has also heard the ones about the Jews being responsible for 9/11, World Wars I and II, global warming and the tooth fairy.

Anti-Semites will find whatever fuel they can to stoke their own prejudices. Please observe that this is a rant against Jews, so any pretence of anti-Zionism can go straight out of the window.

Anti-Semitism is rife in Egypt. Almost a national obsession. On the streets of Cairo you can easily find a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which is a best seller. Blood libels against the Jews abound. And all this is a nation that is Israel’s ‘peace partner’. Who knows to what extent this trash is believed in Egypt where there is a current battle between Islamists and the existing regime and political status quo. Mubarak’s government isn’t exactly a Western democracy but at least it provides some sort of stability and resistance to Jihadis.

But what about poor Queen Esther?  Well, the current logo has moved on since the early days when the nature of the Queen Esther figure was a little more obvious. Wikipedia tells us:

Valerie O’Neil, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said that the logo is an image of a “twin-tailed siren” (the siren of Greek mythology).[25] The logo has been significantly streamlined over the years. In the first version, which gave the impression of an authentic 15th century European woodcut, the Starbucks siren was topless and had a fully visible double fish tail. The image also had a rough visual texture. In the second version, which was used from 1987-92, her breasts were covered by her flowing hair, but her navel was still visible, and the fish tail was cropped slightly. In the current version, used since 1992, her navel and breasts are not visible at all, and only vestiges remain of the fish tails.

Higazi is representative of a large group of Muslim clerics for whom the Jews are simply evil. Just consider: so what even if the logo DID represent Queen Esther, is that such a crime? No, the true crime is that because some of the founders and management of Starbucks are Jews that makes the company persona non grata in the Muslim world. But here’s the killer punch: the Starbucks website also tells us:

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates more than 274 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. ….

We partner with Alshaya Group to operate Starbucks stores in Egypt, Kuwait, KSA, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Jordan and Lebanon in the Middle East region….

We are also committed to hiring locally, providing jobs to thousands of local citizens in the countries where we operate.

In other words, the operation in the Middle East is merely a franchise operated by a Kuwaiti company and provides employment for thousands of people. But Mr Higazi isn’t interested in that, he is only interested in his narrow-minded Jew-hatred.

[On 23rd April 2018 I received an email linking to a thorough explanation of the logo on the website]