Coke Profiting From Anti-Semitism
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) held a protest outside the Coca- Cola Companys annual shareholders’ meeting last week in Wilmington, Delaware, calling on the multi-billion dollar company to compensate the Bigio family, Egyptian Jewish refugees whose land and factories were expropriated by the Egyptian government during an anti-Semitic campaign in the 1960s. Coca-Cola has been occupying and profiting from the Bigios stolen property for many years.
“Coca-Cola continues to violate its own Code of Business Conduct,” said Leonard Getz, a national vice president of ZOA and a Coca-Cola shareholder. “First the company refuses to acknowledge that it is profiting from stolen property, and now it reneges on its promise to engage in good faith settlement discussions with the Bigios. What will it take for Coke to do the right thing?”
Last year Mr. Getz submitted a shareholder proposal for consideration at Coca-Colas annual shareholders meeting, proposing that Coca-Cola be required to fairly compensate the Bigios for their loss. Coke excluded the proposal from its shareholders consideration, but at the late minute, allowed Mr. Getz to address the shareholders, and agreed to negotiate with the Bigios. But this year Mr. Getz was outside the shareholders annual meeting, along with several dozen other protesters, displaying signs that read, “Whos Benefiting from Anti-Semitism? Coke is it!,” “Coke Trespasses on Stolen Jewish Property,” and Christians and Jews United for Justice Ask ‘The Real Thing’ To Do The Right Thing.”
The ZOA called off a demonstration last year after Coca-Cola promised to discuss settlement terms with the Bigio family. But after several meetings held during the past year, it is now abundantly clear that Coca-Cola has no intention of offering the Bigios a fair settlement.
In the 1960s the Egyptian regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser expropriated the Bigio familys land and factories near
The district court dismissed the Bigios case at Coca-Colas request, concluding that
The ZOA has been actively supporting the Bigios cause and has called for a boycott of Coca-Cola products until the company makes a fair settlement with the Bigio family. The ZOA accuses Coke of knowingly occupying property that was stolen by the Egyptian government from Jewish owners.
Despite its self-image and promise to act with honesty and integrity in all matters, Coca-Cola has been unfairly and immorally benefiting from the campaign of anti-Semitism against the Bigios, said Susan Tuchman, Director of the ZOAs Center for Law and Justice.
The Bigios are represented by
Raphael Bigio, 63, speaking on behalf of his family, said that he is deeply grateful for the ZOAs assistance. He hopes that Jews and other fair-minded people will stop buying Coke products.
As Coca-Cola well knows, my family owns these valuable assets in
Morton A. Klein, National President of ZOA, said: This case is important for several reasons: First, it seeks to right a shameful wrong committed by Coca-Cola. Second, its a reminder of the billions of dollars worth of assets, businesses, homes, etc. stolen from Jews in Arab countries. And finally, the case is a reminder of the close to one million Jewish refugees who suffered in the Arab and Islamic countries in which they lived.