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Amer Zahr

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(& Smartest) Arab

Boycott Burgerim? Yes!
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 (14 Comments)

I’ve been posting and talking about Burgerim for some time now, urging everyone to boycott this burger franchise. In fact, I even got the attention of Burgerim’s attorneys, who sent me a cease and desist order a couple months ago. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I’ll get back to more of that later.

Burgerim was founded in Israel, by an Israeli. Its first location was opened in Tel Aviv and still stands there. Its current CEO is Israeli. Also, no evidence exists that this Israeli-founded, Israeli-run company or officials have ever publicly expressed either anti-Zionist sentiments or support for Palestinian equality and rights.

Now, it may be technically true that the US operations no longer have a formal, legal connection to the Israeli operations. But, of course, there would be no American Burgerim if there were no Israeli Burgerim, which proved the concept, showed market success, and imported the idea and CEO here to America. A change of address doesn’t erase its ugly history.

Let me put it like it like this. If Burgerim USA were applying for a loan, Burgerim Israel would be it cosigner and chief personal reference.

Of course, Burgerim’s rise was performed on stolen Palestinian land, supported by the same state that is responsible for millions of Palestinian refugees, daily home demolitions, the denial of civil rights to non-Jews, indiscriminate bombings of Palestinian neighborhoods, the jailing of Palestinian children, and more.

Maybe all of that is enough for you to boycott Burgerim. Maybe it isn’t. But those are the facts. And there’s a lot more.

In the letter I was furnished by Burgerim’s attorneys, I was informed that “the truth is that Burgerim is not involved with Israel or any Israeli company whatsoever.”

If that were true, we probably wouldn’t see media outlets everywhere gushing about the connection.

A newspaper in Westchester, New York describes the company as “Israeli-based.” (May 23, 2019)

The Reno Gazette Journal profiles a new location opening there, tellings its readers that, “Burgerim was founded in Israel in 2011.” (June 7, 2019)

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Israeli burger chain may soon outnumber In-N-Out locations in the Bay Area.” (May 20, 2019)

A New Jersey-based websites describes Burgerim as “a burger franchise that first started in Israel.” (June 5, 2019)

In the Sacramento, California area, a publication lets its readers know that they can now enjoy “the Israeli burger restaurant” without “a trip to Tel Aviv.” (March 22, 2017)

San Antonio, Texas: “New Israeli burger chain Burgerim now has 3 San Antonio locations”

Richmond, Virginia: “Short Pump is getting an Israeli mini burger restaurant”

Los Angeles: “It’s a mini burger party at Burgerim, a new Israeli burger chain in Hollywood”

The Franchise Times, a publication that dubs itself “The News and Information Source for Franchising,” told us just last October:

“This much is clear. Burgerim was founded in Israel… In 2011, Oren Loni, a serial franchisor, purchased the franchise rights from Tuchner [previous owner and founder] and started selling Burgerim franchises in Israel… and in June 2015 moved his family to Los Angeles to start developing the Burgerim brand here.”

The above article actually reads as a warning to investors to stay away from Burgerim… probably good advice.

And if all this isn’t enough, listen to Loni’s own words: “Burgerim is one of the most exciting Burger concepts and I am very excited to finally be able to share it with all of America.” Why is he “finally able to share it with all of American”? Because he brought it here from somewhere else, and that somewhere else is Israel. It’s pretty clear.

And remember the “built on stolen Palestinian land” part I was stressing above? Burgerim’s franchises in Israel carry the history of Palestinian suffering and dispossession.

One is in Karmiel in the north of Palestine. The lands of the Palestinian villages of Nahf, Bi’ina, and Deir al-Asad were expropriated by Israel to build Karmiel. Today, the settlers of Karmiel number almost 50,000.

Another is in Beersheba (Beer a-Saba’), the site of a planned 1948 invasion by Israel. Before that invasion, Beersheba was virtually entirely Palestinian, and had been for centuries. Afterwards, over 30,000 Palestinians were expelled, and the city was looted. In short order, the houses of those refugees were “repopulated” by new Jewish settlers.

One Burgerim location is in an Israeli town named Yehud. Yehud was built on the ruins of al-Abbasiyeh, a Palestinian village depopulated in 1948.

Yet another one is in Caesarea, where Israeli militias forcibly evicted its Palestinians in 1947.

There’s one in a city named Yokneam. That city is built on the lands of Qira, which was emptied of its Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1948 as well.

Burgerim sports a location in Kiryat Gat, which lies on the ruins of Iraq al-Manshiyya. This village was over 600 years old. Over 2000 of its Palestinian inhabitants were ousted in 1948.

You can get your Burgerim fix in Ashkelon, which Palestinians called Majdal Asqalan. As part of the Israel’s “War of Independence,” over 10,000 Palestinians were forced out in 1948. This Palestinian city was also repopulated by new Jewish settlers. Finding homes for them was easy. They were already there.

Go get a burger in Gedera. That Israeli city was built on the village of Qatra. There, Israel ejected 1400 Palestinians.

Don’t forget to get extra cheese on your burger in Yavne. Palestinians used to live there, in their village of Yabne, until 5000 were kicked out.

Maybe you’d like a side of fries in Lod, which Palestinians still call al-Lidd. In 1948, 20,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed. Over 1000 were massacred. The few who remained were dispossessed.

Get a few sliders in Or Yehuda. This city lies where two Palestinian villages once stood. One was Kafr Ana, which saw its 2800 residents driven out. The other was Saqiya. Its 1100 Palestinians were evicted. Before 1948, the villagers in these twin villages grew crops and raised poultry and bees. After 1948, their ancestral houses were repopulated by more Jewish settlers.

And don’t forget to enjoy your meal in Haifa. Over 50,000 Palestinians were shipped out of Haifa in 1948, becoming refugees in neighboring Arab lands and around the world, disconnected from hundreds of years of their histories.

(You can easily find these Burgerim location through a Google Maps search, like i did.)

Finally, visit Burgerim in Maale Adumim. Maale Adumim is a huge Israeli settlement of 40,000 located entirely in the occupied West Bank. Israel seems especially proud of this location, boasting about it through their Ministry of Tourism.

In their letter to me, Burgerim’s attorneys warned me that my words have “incited others into action, resulting in damage to Burgerim’s reputation and in people contacting Burgerim’s franchisees to encourage them to break their contracts with Burgerim.”

Good. That was my intention. That’s sort of what boycotts are meant to achieve.

In short, Burgerim’s lawyers are basically telling me that exposing Burgerim’s relationship with Israel is damaging to the company’s image. I couldn’t agree more!

If you were waffling about Burgerim before, hopefully this is enough for you.

I ask you to join with Palestinians, when we say in a loud and united voice:

“Companies that built their success on the backs of Palestinian dispossession are not worthy of our business.”

Who wants a burger that tastes like occupation anyway? #BoycottBurgerim

 

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

14 comments
  1. Richard says:

    Excellent article! I don’t knowingly buy ANYTHING even remotely connected to Israel.
    I think ESq David should inform the idiot in the WH about fighting words.

    Richard

  2. Tonia Mohammed says:

    Awesome article!

  3. Ronnie McDonald says:

    I’m a frequent Redditor and this right here is a worthy /r/murderedbywords post. Those lawyers are being lawyers. If they didn’t issue that warning, they wouldn’t be worthy of the paychecks they’re getting from Burgerim’s fat cats. They don’t have anything to stand on, especially after your links citing the connections between Burgerim and Israel. I think THEY Should try to save face and issue YOU an apology asap.

  4. Nora says:

    It’s a fucking restaurant, get over it you whiny brats.You’re ruining someone’s whole livelihood over something that happens so long ago that he had no part of?!

  5. Sara says:

    Fuck you and Fuck Palestine! You think your people can just throw rocks and such at soldiers and they are just going to take it? You have no idea what is actually going on just going by hear say. Try living there and then say this.

  6. Peter Schwartz says:

    Good job of confirming that pretty much all run of the mill Muslims in the US are Jewhaters. You care little for palestinian Arabs that are *in reality* slaughtered in Syria or Lebanon, only using the most tenuous logic to express your Jewhate.

    The reality is that the leader of palestinian nationalism, Hajj amin al Husseini, worked with Eichmann to genocide the Jews, Serbs and Roma of WWII Europe, and he attempted (and failed) to finish the job in palestine in 1948. There was no ethnic cleansing done by Zionists–who actually encouraged Arabs to live in peace.

    So a few hundred thousand (around 300K before UNRWA fake figures) fellahin farmers relocated to Jordan and elsewhere–on their own free will after listening to YOUR Arab leaders.

    And sickos like you use this (and your hadith based bigotry) to hold psychotic grudges today. And this grudge is merely because your beloved Husseini failed finish off the Jews of palestine in 1948. You’re sick, a sick, sad, and sadistic person, taking great joy when your beloved freedom fighters kill Jewish civilians, or sticking their hands in the entrails of dead IDF soldiers.

  7. Peter Schwartz says:

    Let’s see if you have the guts to publish the primary source facts, from the May 8, 1948 issue of the Nation. But this would interfere with your hatefilled, taqiyya, and Jewhate mission:

    “April 1948

    Volume 166 New York * Saturday * May 8, 1948 No. 19, Part II

    Introduction

    The pages which follow present in condensed form a memorandum which was submitted by The Nation Associates to the General Assembly of the United Nations on April 30, [1948] covering the British record in Palestine since November 29, 1947. Deletions made in this version merely eliminate the less pertinent parts of certain documents and a section comprising photostat reproductions of documentary texts.

    ?.

    The General Assembly of the United Nations, for the third time in twelve months, is meeting to discuss “the future government of Palestine.” Discussions are taking place in an atmosphere of violence which may touch off an explosion far beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land.

    The question which the General Assembly must face, and world opinion as well, is this: was an inherent injustice in the November 29 resolution of the General Assembly responsible for the current explosion?

    The Nation Associates presents the facts in this memorandum as essential to a wise and just decision. An examination of the facts will show that the present violence in Palestine results from:

    1) British sabotage of Partition — This British sabotage was deliberately undertaken in order to ensure British base rights in Palestine in perpetuity, as well as to safeguard British oil and trade and military interests in the Middle East.

    2) British Alliance with Arab League — To achieve these ends, the British have embarked on an alliance with the Arab League, composed of the governments of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Transjordan, and Yemen. The Arab League, and not the Arab Higher Committee, controls the military and political developments among the Arabs of Palestine. Representatives of the British government were present at the meetings of the Arab League where the revolt was planned and organized and are in continuous connection with it. Within a month after the November 29th resolution, the Arabs were encouraged to believe partition would be substituted by a Federal State, and arms shipments continued to the Arab States despite their known use for Palestine warfare. On April 28 [1948] Foreign Minister Bevin was still refusing to halt them.

    The facts will show, moreover, that:

    The British have allowed 10,000 foreign invaders to enter Palestine, offering the feeble excuse that the British armed forces, consisting, at the outset, of over 80,000 men, could not adequately protect the border.

    Although since December 11, 1947 the British have been promising to return to Transjordan the contingents of the Arab Legion brought to Palestine for police duty, they have allowed the members of that force to remain in Palestine and to attack Jewish communities. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the Arab Legion constitutes a major part of the effort to coerce the Jews into accepting less than the Jewish State granted by the United Nations.

    At no time has the British government, in spite of its alleged impotence, requested any help from the United Nations; in fact, as the record shows, the British have continued to deprecate the situation, refused to identify the invaders, and have consistently denied that the Arab states as such are involved.

    Through their action they have admitted into Palestine Arabs of known Nazi allegiance in command of the invading forces, and have even admitted escaped Nazi prisoners of war, now to be found in command of Arab detachments. From secret British intelligence reports, which are quoted extensively in this record, it is clear that the British know and have always known of every single Arab troop movement in Palestine, and that their relations with the Arabs are such that they could ask Arab leaders to request the invading forces to remain unobtrusive.

    British sabotage has resulted in turning Jerusalem into an armed camp, has permitted the Arabs to seize the Old City and to hold as hostages some 2000 Jews.

    The British have failed to take any action to insure that Haifa should remain an open city, even though they were fully aware of the desire of local Arabs to achieve this and that the Jews wanted only to be safe from attack.

    Their prejudice against the Jews has been clearly indicated in their refusal to allow the Jews to arm for defense against Arab attack, and their blowing up of Jewish defense posts; in their turning over to the Arabs – and to certain death – members of the Haganah; in their confiscation of Haganah arms; in their treatment of Jewish defense personnel as criminals. The British have connived at the starving of the Jewish population of Jerusalem by their failure to keep the highways open. They have refused armed escorts to the Jews.

    Their attitude to the Arab community is quite different. By British admission, the Arab community has been armed by the British. Arab train robberies, which have been frequent, have been met with shooting over the heads of the robbers. Arab desertions from the police, for the purpose of joining the attackers, accompanied by the stealing of arms, have never been prevented, and Arab violators of the peace go unpunished.

    To this record can be added the detailed facts concerning the fashion in which the British have destroyed central authority, and, under the guise of establishing greater local authority, turned over in largest part to the Arabs the various services of the Palestine government created and maintained chiefly by taxation of the Jewish community. Simultaneously, assets have been dissipated and vital communications disposed of to foreign agencies. The effect of this has been to seal the Jewish community in a limited area, cut off its access to the outside world by land and sea, and surround it by Arabs in order to create such a state of siege as would cause the Jews to send up a white flag.

    By arrangement with the Arab League, if partition is shelved through any one of several schemes to assure Arab dominance in Palestine, the British are to receive base rights in Haifa, the Negev and Galilee.

    But the British are not depending on Arab promises alone. They have already taken the necessary steps to assure the permanent rights in Palestine to air bases and land and sea communications. To be able to carry out this program, the Mandatory has required a free hand. That is why it has kept the United Nations Commission out of Palestine and refused it cooperation.

    The facts contained in this document come for the most part from the confidential reports of British Intelligence.

    So intent are the British upon destroying partition that they have shown themselves oblivious to the fact that with it they may destroy the authority of the United Nations, and even the peace of the world.

    Freda Kirchwey, President
    The Nation Associates”

  8. Marc says:

    Complete bullshit. Haha Caesarea was a swamp and never ever one Arab lived there except the Sudan Arabs imported by the Baron to dry the CAESAREA swamp. They live now happily in Djasser and even tough they are black Muslims the Arabs hate them because of their racist hate of people of color. There are more universities in west bank per capita than anywhere in Arab world. Is all a big lie. Check the facts

  9. Burger enthusiast settler says:

    I love eating Burgerim burgers, in Jerusalem, thats the best way to do it.

    Nobody cares about your problems, just give me more burgers

  10. Frank says:

    Best part!
    Israel seems especially proud of this location, boasting about it through their Ministry of Tourism.

    It’s litterally a “what to eat” section of a travel site. Why not spend your time actually helping the cause rather than hurting the Lebanese franchise owner who was just selling burgers. Do you know see the irony?!

  11. Martin Leaf says:

    I think you cannot teach at a public law school. Your bias regarding people of Israeli national origin should disqualify you to teach them. There is a quid pro quo you are violating. The Federal Government gives funds to U of D, and in exchange you are not allowed to discriminate or be biased against Jewish Israeli Zionists taking your class. It is Title 6 that disqualifies you from teaching any student because you MUST be non-biased and non-discriminatory against any protected class including Israeli national origin.

    You also cannot teach religious Jews because Zionism is part and parcel of religious Judaism – another reason why your employment with the university violates Title 6.

    If a Jewish professor felt about Palestinians like you do about Jews – that Palestinian land is on stolen Jewish land and that a business originating in Palestine should be boycotted, it would create the same ridiculous hostile environment for the Palestinian. The word Jew comes from Judea, i.e. Israel.

    The university and everyone else that cares about fairness must boycott you, which as you stated “of course carries economic consequences”. You must also leave America immediately because after all, we are on stolen Indian land.

  12. Rumian says:

    You have right to boycott Israel. But you have no right to send physical violence threats via social networks to that Lebanese guy. It’s an abuse, a kind of harassment. The guy may consider it as real threats putting his life in danger. You also have no right to vandalize one’s private property. The Dearbornis destroyed the tent which covered the opening place of this planned restaurant and which belonged to that Lebanese guy. It goes beyond the scope of legitimate anti-Israeli democratic protest and clearly violates the law. Violence and threats aren’t legitimate ways to express someone’s free spech. It’s sad that someone can be so obsessed with Israel that ignores those blatant violations from the side of Dearborni Arabs even though he teaches Law as a subject at a university. Palestinian cause isn’t an excuse to ignore American law, regardless of whether Israel is liked or not by local community, the law is to be respected. Either prevent it from opening legally, through court lawsuits, or get done with it and let it open which is the fairest way to deal with the problem (if someone wants to boycott, let him do it individually. If some treacherous Dearborni Arab Zionist pro-Israel traitor to Palestinian cause, who undoubtedly exists, doesn’t want to boycott, let him enjoy those Israeli colonialist burgers, why deny him his right and force him to participate into the boycott he doesn’t want to be a part of? If there’re enough boycotters, the restaurant will go bankrupt and shut itself down in Dearborn). The only thing you suceed in by this is destroying the public image of Arab Americans, Muslims. The violent resistance may have its place in occupied Palestine, but it simply has no place in the USA. Full stop.

    1. Amer Zahr says:

      i didn’t threaten him or anyone online or otherwise. nor did i vandalize anything or even remotely encourage people to.

  13. Peter Schwartz says:

    the ‘palestinian cause’ is nothing other than killing Jews and/or forcing the rest back into a state of dhimmitude, as the Jews lived in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere. The ‘good old days’ when Muslims could beat or rape a Jew and face no repercussions.

    The lies about ‘occupation’ don’t actually work on any person of any religion that knows anything about the history of the region, since muslims think Jews are ‘occupying’ any and all areas ruled by Jews.

    Such a sick culture that slanders any Arab that is not actually warped enough to support such sickness.

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