Arabs call for boycott of Pizza Hut

Palestinian Arabs call for boycott of Pizza Hut for mocking hunger-striking terrorists.

Elad Benari ,

Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut

Palestinian Arabs called for a boycott of Pizza Hut on Tuesday, after the company's franchise in Israel was accused of mocking hunger-striking terrorists imprisoned in Israel, AFP reported.

The franchise's Facebook page was said to have shared an image released by Israeli police earlier this week which shows archterrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is leading the hunger strike, secretly breaking his fast.

"Barghouti, if you are going to break your (hunger) strike, isn't pizza the better choice?" a screenshot of the post said, with a pizza box seemingly photoshopped into the picture.

The image was later removed from the Facebook page, though it was still found on the page of at least one local branch, noted AFP.

A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut International apologized for the post, telling the news agency, "It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand. The local franchisee in the country removed it," she added.

"We truly regret any hurt this may have caused," the spokeswoman added.

The post, however, sparked fury on Palestinian Authority social media, including calls to boycott the chain.

"Pizza Hut is ridiculing the prisoners' strike," activist Alaa Abu Diab wrote on Facebook, using the hashtag #boycott_pizzahut.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement said it supported calls to snub Pizza Hut.

"Pizza Hut's mockery of leaders of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike for freedom and dignity adds insult to deep injury," said the group’s Mahmoud Nawajaa.

"We support grassroots Palestinian calls for a worldwide boycott of Pizza Hut, especially in the Arab world," he wrote in an email to AFP.

Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in terrorist attacks against Israelis, launched the hunger strike on April 17, but it has since showed signs of weakening.

Jailed terrorists have often used hunger strikes as a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to improve the conditions of their imprisonment or release them out of fear for their lives. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.