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News > World

Starbucks Chided for Tapping Pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League to Teach Anti-Racism Class

  • Protests take place outside of a Starbucks in Philadelphia, United States.

    Protests take place outside of a Starbucks in Philadelphia, United States. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 April 2018

Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women's March, accused the Anti-Defamation League of "attacking Black and Brown people."

One day after Starbucks promised to close all of its stores and corporate offices in the United States to conduct “racial-bias education” courses, Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women's March, has called for a full on boycott of the coffee giant for welcoming the anti-Palestinian Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, to teach the classes.

Protesters, BLM Say 'Too Little, Too Latte' to Starbucks

She accused ADL, a mainstream Jewish civil rights group, of “attacking Black and Brown people” and demanded Starbucks cut ties with the group.

“So you are aware, Starbucks was on a decent track until they enlisted the Anti-Defamation League to build their anti-bias training. The ADL is CONSTANTLY attacking black and brown people. This is a sign that they are tone deaf and not committed to addressing the concerns of black folks. Be clear what’s happening here!” Mallory said in a statement released Tuesday.

Faced with protests against the U.S. police murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the ADL urged “calm” among demonstrators, stating, “we respect the grand jury's integrity and their commitment to meeting the heavy responsibility thrust upon them.”

The organization also denounced Black U.S. football player Reggie Bush when he shared messages of Palestinian solidarity with the Black community in Ferguson. “Stick to football,” the ADL stated, claiming that there is no connection between racist violence against Black people in the United States and that ocassioned by Israeli security forces upon the Palestinians in their struggle for a homeland.

Also, the ADL has long been accused of taking strong anti-Palestinian positions by treating criticisms of Israeli repression against Palestinians as being anti-Semitic, as well as calling the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, movement as being anti-Jewish.

The arrest of two Black men, who delayed placing an order while waiting for a third person to arrive in a Philadelphia Starbucks, has sparked protests against the company.

Demonstrators have accused the franchise of racial profiling since non-Black patrons stated they were not asked to leave the premises when they behaved similarly. 

Some social media users launched a cyber protest with the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks.

Two Black Men Arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks Cafe While Waiting for Friend

The company apologized to the men with little effect, prompting Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to attempt to de-escalate the situation with a statement offering “our deepest apologies.” Johnson also added that the company aims to do “whatever we can to make things right,” and said he hoped “to meet personally with the two men who were arrested to offer a face-to-face apology.”

Several Starbucks customers recorded the arrest on their cell phones. Melissa DePino recorded the video that went viral on social media with nearly 10 million views.

“These guys never raised their voices. They never did anything remotely aggressive ... I was sitting close to where they were. Very close. They were not doing anything. They weren't,” DePino said.

The men were taken to a police station and fingerprinted and photographed and held for almost eight hours without being charged. Lauren Wimmer, a representative for the men, told The Washington Post that the district attorney found no evidence of a crime.

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