JERUSALEM (JTA) — Starbucks issued a statement saying the company and its CEO do not provide any financial support to Israel or its army. The company updated a 4-year-old statement on its website after the spread of false “rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army,” the statement said, referring to Howard Schultz, Starbuck’s CEO, who is Jewish. The statement, a fact sheet in Q and A form, was updated on Aug. 5.
“Starbucks has been and remains a non-political organization. We do not support any political or religious cause. Additionally, neither Starbucks nor the company’s chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz, provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way,” the statement said.
The company said in its statement that it closed its Starbucks stores in Israel in 2003 due to “on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.”
Starbucks has stores in 65 countries, including nearly 600 in 12 Middle Eastern and North African countries such as Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.