Overpriced coffee transcends politics
Starbucks has recently started operating in Jordan, marking its arrival with the opening of a three-story flagship store in the chi chi Abdoun neighbourhood of Aman. Of course, given that the company chairman Howard Schultz is both Jewish and a vocal supporter of Israel, there was some controversy. Schultz’s chairmanship of Starbucks led the Higher Committee for Protecting the Nation and Anti-Normalisation, made up of unspecified professional associations and political activists, to demand that the government revoke Starbucks license.
Starbucks Jordanian partners responded that:
We are not here to comment on Howard Schultz as an individual, those are his personal circumstances. As a corporation we are a nonpolitical organisation and what is unanimous for both Starbucks and Howard Schultz is that any form of violence in the world is upsetting, particularly when there may be a personal connection to the region.
Looks like Starbucks is in Jordan to stay. Oddly enough, Starbucks shut down operations in Israel in April 2003 citing “operational challenges,” so if you want a grande latte whilst in the Holy Land, you may have to pop off to the inevitable Petra Starbucks. Oh well.
Tip o’ the kippah to Jordanian Blogger Mental Mayhem (trackback). By the way, Mental Mayhem is a nominee for the Baba 2004 Best Arab Blog award. Nominations end on Jan. 16th. Odd coincidence, eh? Anyhow, she totally has my vote.