| Most rumors we receive have some
basis in truth, but conclusions are drawn that take the facts a step off the
deep end. That is the exactly what happened with a false rumor claiming that by
purchasing food from McDonalds, you are supporting terrorism. Boycott Watch
contacted McDonalds Corporation for their side of the story and examined the
issue in detail. The following is what we discovered.
McDonalds is well known for their charities. Their
restaurants generally have boxes where you can donate money to a charity, and
usually a charity related to children who need medical assistance. We say
usually only because we can not possibly visit every restaurant to verify if
this applies to each and every location. As a company, McDonald's is known for
building the Ronald McDonald Houses near hospitals, so people who have children
being treated in hospitals that are not near their homes have a warm and
comfortable place to stay. McDonald's restaurants also donate money from sales
to support children's hospitals. These charitable activities are not only
supported by the franchises in the US, but also by their franchises or
'partners' as they call them, world-wide. McDonalds can therefore easily be
called a charitable company.
The email in question
(see below) has primarily circulated in Israel, but has recently been spread in
the US. The email appears to claim that if you buy from McDonalds, and
presumably in Israel, you will be supporting terrorist attacks against Israel.
The email does not exclude the US, and it claims that the proof is found on the
McDonalds web site. Boycott Watch contacted McDonalds and asked several rounds
of questions to get to the truth, and then verified the information presented
to us by McDonalds, comparing it to the information in the email, and we came
to our own conclusion about the emails.
As it turns
out, there was a fundraising effort by McDonalds restaurants in Saudi Arabia in
late 2000 benefiting the Disabled Children Association and the Nasser
Children's Hospital in Gaza. McDonald's Saudi Arabia supported the hospital by
"supplying medical equipment bought from the fundraising activity" according to
McDonald's Corporation. Boycott Watch examined the McDonalds claim because we
take nothing at face value. The following is the results of our research:
* McDonalds Corporation is a US company that
franchises restaurants globally, and there are exclusive operating agreements
in some foreign countries.
* McDonalds Saudi
Arabia is in fact a franchise and licensee of the name, and is not owned by
* McDonalds in Israel
is also a franchise and licensee of the name, and is not owned by McDonalds
* McDonalds Israel and McDonalds
Saudi Arabia are in no way connected as companies, other than independently and
separately being franchises of the same parent company.
* As a franchise, each country can decide
what fundraising projects they want to work on.
Boycott Watch consulted with three reporters from different Israeli news
organizations, two of which are known for being extremely critical of Yassir
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and none were able to produce any
evidence of any wrong doing or terrorism involvement by the Nasser Children's
Hospital in Gaza.
* Internet research about
the Nasser Children's Hospital in Gaza revealed no evidence of any involvement
in any terrorism. In fact, the hospital appears to be exactly what it claims to
be, a hospital for disabled children. We do not, however, have any detailed
information about the hospitals operations. There is no way we can verify if
money was sent to the hospital to purchase equipment, or if the equipment was
purchased and shipped to Gaza as claimed.
We believe that major medical equipment for any hospital in Gaza is most
probably imported, and it is therefore plausible that equipment was purchased,
donated and then shipped to the hospital in Gaza. Boycott Watch has found no
evidence to doubt the claim.
* McDonalds in
Israel was not part of the fundraising effort whatsoever. No dollars from any
stores in Israel, therefore, went to this fundraising effort.
* McDonalds in the US was not part of the
fundraising effort whatsoever. No dollars from any stores in US, therefore,
went to this fundraising effort.
locations, worldwide, are engaged in efforts to raise money for children's
hospitals, and the Saudi Arabia effort was consistent with that goal.
* McDonald's locations in Israel also engaged
in efforts to raise money for children's hospitals which is consistent with
McDonald's Corporation efforts.
* If a person
in Saudi Arabia wanted to make a donation to a terrorist organization, they can
do it in the open, and therefore do not need to hide it in a charity for a
hospital. There is, therefore, no specific reason to mask donations through a
hospital if that is what the email author concluded.
The only truth in the email that is circulating is
that money was raised at some McDonald's locations and was used to buy items
that went to Gaza, but the truth stops there. The only money that was raised
was by McDonalds Saudi Arabia and in Saudi Arabia.
conclusion, after extensive research and conversations with McDonalds
Corporation representatives, Boycott Watch believes that the fundraising effort
in question only took place in Saudi Arabia, and we have no evidence to
conclude that this specific fund raising effort by McDonalds Saudi Arabia was
for anything other than medical equipment for the Disabled Children's
Association and the Nasser Children's Hospital in Gaza, to which we have found
no direct links to terrorism or terrorist organizations. There is also no
evidence that any other McDonald's locations have made donations to terrorist
This is not to say that people
involved with the hospital are or are not involved with, associates with, or
support terrorist organizations. We do not have any information to that effect
one way or another. So, if you are worried about profits from McDonalds food
purchases may support terrorism, Boycott Watch suggests not buying food from
McDonalds while in Saudi Arabia; or for that matter, not going to or buying
anything from or in Saudi Arabia.
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A few months ago a man told me that
every time we buy a meal from McDonald's, one shekel is given by them to the
Palestinians. I asked another student to check this information on the
McDonald's website and he confirmed that it was true. Like me, he was horrified
that the money we spend to give children a treat goes to Arafat and to fund his
terrorist activities like building Kazzam rockets which are fired at towns in
the south of Israel at least once a week. As much as he enjoys his Big Macs he
has sworn not to buy even an ice-cream from them again. I have spoken to many
other people who are also determined not to be unwitting sponsors of terror.
Have a peaceful week.
All the best
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original email -----