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Protesters close Beirut Starbucks branch

January 14, 2009
About one hundred demonstrators angry with Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip shut down a Starbucks store Tuesday, shouting anti-Israel slogans and causing customers inside to flee.

About one hundred demonstrators angry with Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip shut down a Starbucks store Tuesday, shouting anti-Israel slogans and causing customers inside to flee.

The protest in Beirut is the latest of a series of demonstrations across the Arab world since Israel launched its offensive, designed to stop Hamas rocket fire into Israel, on Dec. 27; more than 900 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting.

The protesters said they targeted the store because they claim that Howard Schultz, the company's CEO, chairman and president, donates money to the Israeli military. A spokeswoman for the Seattle, Washington-based conglomerate called accusations Starbucks supports Israel "false" and said the political preferences of one of its employees has no bearing on the company's policies.

The demonstrators hung several banners on the shop's window and used white tape to paste a Star of David over the green-and-white Starbucks sign.

The protesters also distributed a letter saying Schultz "is one of the pillars of the American Jewish lobby and the owner of the Starbucks," which they said donates money to the Israeli military.

January 14, 2009
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