web analytics
April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Egyptian Jew Who’s Battling Coca-Cola

Front-Page-060812

The glissando of German Nazism in the Third Reich and the Egyptian-Nazi program in Nasser’s postwar regime directly led to the implementation of Hitler’s confiscation program in Egypt. That program swept away the Bigio family’s property – as it did for some 800,000 other Jews living in the Arab world after World War II – nearly all of whom fled or were expelled.

In Bigio’s case, the assemblage of warehouses and manufacturing buildings sprawled across 10,000 square meters in the midst of bustling Heliopolis. The entire industrial complex traces its main commercial life to the 1930s when Bigio’s grandfather first bought the land and built a shoe polish plant there. Eventually, the family business added a tin container manufacturing operation to hold the shoe polish, and from that venture expanded into general tin plating. Eventually, they produced tin bottle caps for soda. In 1942, at the height of World War II, a Coca-Cola licensed bottler became the family’s tenant, bottling the world-famous cola.

One day in August 1962, Refael Bigio was driving to the factory with his father. Police cordons surrounded his buildings at 14 Aswan Street in a well-publicized takeover. As Bigio and his father nervously stepped up the stairs, a policeman barked that the government had nationalized the business. “Give me the keys,” he demanded.

Coke created a great beverage enterprise in Egypt, utilizing the Bigios’ property. Early on, Refael Bigio warned Coke attorneys in Atlanta that they were benefiting from stolen goods. He was ignored. Eventually, the Bigio family sued. That was 15 years ago.

* * * * *

Coke’s corporate attorneys, King and Spalding, have made a small fortune in legal fees fighting the Bigio family. The litigation has been so flammable that after a recent court verdict, the multi-billion dollar Coca-Cola Company punitively attempted to collect the tiny sum of $323.70 in copying costs from hapless Bigio. Bigio’s attorneys successfully fought that effort, proving that Coke had inserted photocopying costs from another case. An embarrassed King and Spalding averred that it was all an “inadvertent mistake” and withdrew their collection effort.

When asked, a Coke spokesman explained, “We merely filed a standard bill for clerical costs as permitted by court rules – just as the Bigios have done twice previously. However, the filing inadvertently attached the wrong invoice, and given the small amount at issue, we chose to withdraw it as soon as we discovered the error.”

Coke corporate also insists, “Coca-Cola is sensitive to the plight of individuals who have lost property through the actions of others in various countries around the world. We understand their desires for a fair and open hearing of their claims. As we have said many times, the facts make it clear that this grievance is against others and not against The Coca-Cola Company.”

But many believe the Bigios are not getting a fair hearing. In the past, Jewish leaders have asked to see good faith negotiations by Coke. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League has stated, “It’s about time that the Bigio matter be resolved, in good faith, either by negotiation or speedy litigation.”

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has also asserted, “When the government of Egypt originally seized this property, that was clearly wrong. The fact that Coke joined in needs to be taken into account. It is not realistic to give back the property, but it is realistic to provide fair compensation to the Bigios.”

Added Hoenlein, “The very essence of the word ‘compensation’ means it must be a fair amount.”

As for Coke’s legal argument that “Seizure of Jewish citizens’ property in Nazi Germany did not violate international law,” which it asserted as a basis to excuse a similar theft in Egypt, a Coke spokesman stated, “Mischaracterizing a legal citation from a 1997 court filing to suggest that it represents our Company’s broader, well-established views on universal human rights is inappropriate. To even remotely suggest that the Company somehow condones the Nazi seizure of property is ridiculous and offensive.” But attorneys Alyza and Nathan Lewin maintain that Coca-Cola’s pleadings speak for themselves. Coke claims its use of the Bigios’ property is legal because Nasser’s seizure of Jewish property was lawful. In making that argument, Coke adopted the position that “Nazi seizure of Jewish property was not an illegal act.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Egyptian Jew Who’s Battling Coca-Cola”

  1. Jody Davis says:

    Please read this and pay special attention to Coke's "rationale" in its official court pleadings. And I thought Pepsi, a supporter for many years of the Arab boycott of Israel, was the only ugly soft drink giant.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Daniel Lubetzky  president of V15 and CEO of Kind "healthy" bars
No Victory for V15 and Not Healthy ‘Healthy’ Snack Bars
Latest Indepth Stories
Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

ISIS terrorist carries the group's black flag.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Cliff Rieders

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.

For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot

The only way to become humble is honesty about our experiences; it’s the only path to true humility

Obama’s approach to evildoers echoes Gandhi’s fatuous and muddleheaded pleas to his “friend” Hitler

More Articles from Edwin Black
Iranian Oil Tanker

Oil impoverishment is the only reason Iran is negotiating on its uranium enrichment-they are linked.

BDS-Conference_Slider

Today the BDS Movement is the vanguard of growing anti-Semitic agitation and anti-Israel activity

MK Yoni Chetboun said the NIF was committed to “erasing the Jewish identity from the Jewish State”

“Martyrdom Establishment” compensation is dispensed worldwide, wherever the terrorist act takes place, according to a 2010 Palestinian Authority Social Ministry report.

Abbas scrutinized details of each case details of each terrorist act before awarding $ and honors

Iran has been developing its nuclear warhead for sixteen years. It is nearly perfected.

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

CUFI’s purpose, according to the group’s website, is “to educate Christians on the biblical and moral imperatives to support Israel and to build Christian support for Israel throughout America.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-egyptian-jew-whos-battling-coca-cola/2012/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: