Israeli activists have urged a McDonald’s boycott, given the fast food chain has refused to open a branch in a Jewish settlement, Israel National News website reported on Thursday. McDonald’s Israeli division was recently approached by mall owners in Ariel, who asked the food chain to open a branch there around six months ago. However, McDonald’s rejected the request, saying it shouldn’t build in occupied Palestinian territories, Irina Shalmor, spokeswoman for McDonald’s Israel was quoted saying by The Associated Press.
The decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the U.S., Shalmor added. Activists called a boycott of McDonald’s branches across Israel and have urged the Israeli population to support Israeli Burger Ranch’s fast food instead. “McDonald’s has turned from a business into an organization with an anti-Israel political agenda,” Israel National News reported Yigal Delmonti, deputy director of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as saying. “We welcome Burger Ranch’s announcement that it will open a branch in Ariel, a move that will increase its visibility throughout Israel.”
Owner and CEO of McDonald’s in Israel, Omri Padan, is the founder of the NGO, Peace Now, that advocates for a two-state solution within secure borders. The NGO’s executive director Yariv Oppenheimer defended Padan’s decision. He said the company had a right to “act according to its conscience” and to “decide where it wanted to place its stores.” Meanwhile, Burger King offered to open a branch at the mall, Tzahi Nehimias, the co-owner said. The $27-million mall is expected to open in late 2014 inside Palestinian territories.