ZOA Condemns Coca-Cola For Denying Pres. Nasser’s Persecution Of Egypt’s Jews
November 3, 2009

 Denial in Bigio Case

Borders on Anti-Semitism




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Coca-Cola Company (“Coca-Cola” or the “Company”) for denying that Jews in Egypt were subjected to anti-Semitic persecution and discrimination under the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, which included the confiscation of Jewish property and the expulsion of Jews from Egypt.  Coca-Cola took this position in the lawsuit filed against the Company by the Bigios, an Egyptian Jewish family whose property in Egypt was taken from them by the Egyptian government in the 1960’s because they were Jews.  In 1994, Coca-Cola purchased an interest in the company that was illegally occupying and using the Bigios’ property, despite knowing about the immoral and illegal manner in which the Bigios’ property had been stolen from them by the Egyptian government in its anti-Semitism campaign.


In 1997, the Bigios sued Coca-Cola in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the Company was trespassing on and illegally occupying their property in Egypt.  Twelve years later, the lawsuit is still ongoing, in large part due to Coca-Cola’s legal maneuvering to avoid the Court from reaching the merits of the Bigios’ claims. 


Next week, the U.S. District Court will finally get to the merits of the Bigios’ claims against Coca-Cola when the Court hears the Bigios’ motion for summary judgment and Coca-Cola’s motion to dismiss.  In connection with their motion, the Bigios were required to file a Rule 56.1 Statement, in which they had to identify the material facts as to which they contend there is no genuine issue to be tried by the Court.  In response, Coca-Cola was required to identify the material facts which the Company disputes; otherwise, they are deemed admitted for purposes of the summary judgment motion.


In their Rule 56.1 Statement, the Bigios included as undisputed that Nasser systematically persecuted Egypt’s Jews, and that his anti-Jewish program included police detention of Jews, the sequestration of Jewish-owned businesses and property, depriving Jews of Egyptian citizenship, and the expulsion of Jews from Egypt.  Incredibly, Coca-Cola disputed the truth of these statements.  


Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, expressed their outrage over the position that Coca-Cola has taken in the Bigios’ lawsuit:  “It is preposterous and shameful that Coca-Cola would dispute the historical fact that the Nasser regime persecuted and discriminated against the Jews in Egypt.  The Bigios were among the almost one million Jews in Arab/Islamic countries who lived in these countries often for centuries, building families, communities and businesses.  They were never treated as full and equal citizens, but after the State of Israel was established in 1948, the persecution and discrimination intensified. 


“In Egypt, Jews were killed, arrested, imprisoned, and had their property confiscated.  Thousands were forced to leave the country.  The population numbers speak volumes:  While in 1948, there were approximately 75,000 Jews in Egypt, today the number has dwindled to an estimated 100-200 Jews.


“In the past, the ZOA has criticized Coca-Cola for how the Company has dealt with the Bigios, but now the Company has reached a new low:  In an effort apparently to diminish the Bigio family’s claim that Coca-Cola has been benefiting from an Egyptian campaign of anti-Semitism against the Bigios, Coca-Cola is denying the fact that such a campaign ever even existed in Egypt.


“Albeit an extreme analogy, there are Holocaust deniers and Holocaust minimizers who ask for proof that the Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis or that it was six million Jews murdered and not a smaller number.  These Holocaust deniers and minimizers who deliberately ignore historical truths for their own purposes are anti-Semites.


“Coca-Cola’s conduct in this litigation – outrageously asserting that there is some dispute over the irrefutable fact that Jews were persecuted and discriminated against in Egypt – likewise borders on anti-Semitism.  If Coca-Cola is going to prevail in the Bigios’ lawsuit, it should be based on the facts and the law.  A company of Coca-Cola’s stature should not be sinking to the odious level of denying the historical truth of Jewish suffering in Egypt as a legal ploy to escape responsibility for its conduct.”



Center for Law & Justice
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