LONDON: Friends of Al-Aqsa, a pro-Palestinian organization in the UK, has launched a campaign to persuade sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger to rethink its plans to open dozens of stores in Israel, organizers said on Friday.
The London-based company has entered into a 10-year, non-binding agreement with Israeli fashion chain Fox-Wizel and restaurant group Yarzin Sella to open and operate about 40 franchises in Israel in the next decade.
FOA said Pret is sue to formally finalize the agreement by March and therefore urged supporters to act quickly to persuade the company not to proceed with its plans by emailing its CEO.
“In response to Pret A Manger’s campaign to open more than 40 branches in apartheid Israel over the next 10 years, FOA has launched a #PretAParatheid campaign,” said the nongovernmental organization, which champions equality and justice in Palestine and stands against Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid regime.
“This has led to Pret’s social media platforms being inundated with messages of protest and hundreds have emailed Pret CEO Pano Christou in the last 48 hours,” it added.
“Pret’s announcement is a clear sign of support for Israel’s apartheid regime and ongoing violations of international law.
“On its website, Pret claims to serve fresh food and coffee whilst ‘trying to do the right thing.’ But ‘opening branches in an apartheid state is doing the wrong thing,’ reads the #PretAParatheid campaign letter to Pano Christou.”
The organization said Pret should not be doing business with an “apartheid state” that has been violating the human rights of the Palestinians for 75 years.
“By opening stores in Israel, Pret would be complicit in Israeli human rights abuses,” said Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at FOA.
“Pret claims that being ethical is one of its ‘core values’ but supporting a state that repeatedly violates international law and targets and kills children isn’t ethical.
“On every sandwich, Pret has a sticker asking for feedback … hundreds of people have now given them feedback and asked them not to support apartheid — where is their response?”
FOA said it has contacted Pret for comment but had yet to receive a reply.