Israel went a bit too far when it said that McDonald’s decision to not open a branch in West Bank, Ariel, had an ulterior anti-Israel political agenda.
The fast food restaurant refused to operate in one of the largest “illegal” settlement in the disputed territory. According to the Washington Post, Ariel is the fourth largest settlement in the West Bank; a suburban-style development, home to roughly 18,000 people and a university that enrolls some 10,000 students.
By the way, McDonald’s isn’t the first to boycott Israeli settlements. Along with several human rights organizations, individuals like Stephen Hawking have also joined the protest against Israeli expansion. Stephen Hawking pulled out of the conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres as a protest against Israel’s aggression towards the Palestinians in May, and the renowned physicist received quite a lot of abuse for this step. He was accused of having anti-Israeli agenda as well.
And now it’s McDonald’s turn.
A settler leader said, “McDonald's has turned from a business into an organization with an anti-Israeli political agenda.”
One wonders what “political” good (or bad) a food chain, even as huge as McDonald’s, can do to the most militarily powerful state in the world. It’s just unreasonable.
Meanwhile, the boycott groups are celebrating the move. A Twitter user wrote, “New found respect for McDonald's which has rejected West Bank branch proposal.” Another commented, “Another reason to go out and get yourself a big mac. McDonald's refuses to operate in West Bank settlements.”
The controversy surrounding McDonald’s decision gave Burger Ranch, Israel’s homegrown fast-food chain, a chance to expand with the expansionists. It announced that it would happily open a branch in Ariel.
Turns out, McDonald’s actually helped Israel’s local fast food chain to grow and prosper. No anti-Israel political agenda here, is it?