A threatened boycott of Fanta products (bottled in Israel and elsewhere by Coca Cola) has succeeded in convincing the company's directors to adjust its web site to reflect Israel's presence in the Middle East, listing it among the 188 countries the product is sold in.
In what the company called “an error” last week, Fanta left Israel off the list, while making sure to put in the Palestinian Authority.
The change is due to the hard work of the “Poets for Israel,” an activist group of poets and artists who believe in “old-fashioned” Zionism – the kind, the group says, that promotes “nationalistic writing, which has been considered (for much too long) fascist or just old-fashioned. It's OK to write something good about your country or people – that doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.”
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Adam Dovzhinsky, the group's chairman, said that 100-member strong group used Facebook, e-mail, and other social media channels to spread the word about Fanta's gaffe. “On its international site, Fanta erased Israel, so we decided to protest,” he said. “All the countries were on Fanta's map of the world, except for Israel.”
Dovzhinsky doesn't buy Fanta's claim that the omission of Israel was a “mistake. This is a worldwide phenomenon, with boycotts of Israel taking many forms,” he said. In order to fight fire with fire, the group got one of its talented artists – in this case, a caricaturist – to draw a caricature representing Fanta's anti-Israel bent.
The message was apparently received, and the company fixed things up within days of the boycott announcement – unlike other companies, which often drag their feet on these issues. Dovzhinsky said there was a good reason for Fanta to act quickly. “This is a German company that was established in 1939, so they apparently understood that they needed to be careful in upsetting Israelis.”
Dovzhinsky added that the local Fanta representative in Israel took the case up, and worked with officials to correct the situation.