Coke and Confiscation
|Ken Bobu||April 21st 2008|
Cutting Edge Contributor
There is probably no other brand in the world with the name recognition of Coca-Cola. The company founded in 1892 has spent untold millions on ensuring that its brand has survived – no matter what. While wrapping itself in the American flag, the Coke has sold Americans “their” drink all the while suggesting that they represent all the good and values of
The reality is quite different, however.
From supporting both sides (German & American) during World War II, to upholding the Arab League ban on businesses until forced to back down by the ADL, the Coca-Cola Company has involved itself in politics everywhere that it has suited their bottom line to do so. Meanwhile, the image cultivated at home is of a wholesome patriotic good corporate citizen.
The Bigio family is one of many hundreds of thousands of cases of dispossessed Jewish persons. Regrettably, the fact that Jews have been dispossessed around the world throughout history comes as no surprise; however, the fact that the Coca-Cola Company has been hiding behind the legal niceties of landlord-tenant law while occupying seized property for a pittance is both shameful and newsworthy. Coca-Cola doesn’t even deny knowing that the property was seized from the Bigios because they were Jewish!
This case doesn’t hinge purely on its legal merits. The Bigio dispossession is not in dispute any more than Coke’s having significantly benefitted materially since the original seizure. The company’s argument that the Bigio’s remedy is in
The company’s reluctance to be associated with an anti-Semitic case is understandable, given their long-standing embraced emphasis on the yellow-capped kosher bottles of Coke available during the immediate period prior to Passover. Coke’s consideration to domestic purveyors of Cola who are Jewish should not, however, be confused with a commitment to the faith. Rather it is the bottom line that affects the decision. In the Bigio case, the bottom line is that closing a blind eye to a known and indisputable injustice has saved Coke countless millions.
In 1966 it took action by the Anti Defamation League to finally push Coke to do the right thing and start doing business in
Now again, Coke is faced with a choice and is reluctant to choose properly. Although the consequences now are far slimmer than they were in 1966, the company isn’t acting with any sense of urgency or moral authority.
To be fair, over the years the Coca Cola Company has been a generous and philanthropic corporate citizen. However, it is this individual case that stirs suspicion that the company’s engagement in philanthropic causes may be less linked to their inherent commitment to always do the right thing, rather than to the tax benefits that can be derived from such endeavors.
Therefore, it is time – again – to remind the Coca-Cola Company that as its roots remain at home, so should its loyalties to the very concepts and beliefs it embraces in its U.S. marketing campaigns. Until such time, it is understandable that many will encourage the boycotting of all Coca-Cola Company products and their subsidiary companies.
Coke Products: http://www.thecocacolacompany.com/brands/brandlist.html.
Kenneth Bobu, a veteran of the U.S. Naval Security Group, writes on national and international issues.