The Business of War

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McDonald’s Malaysia filed a $1.3 million lawsuit against a pro-Palestinian group promoting boycotts against companies allegedly supporting Israel, saying that movement has hurt its business, Reuters reported this week.

The licensee of McDonald’s in Malaysia, Gerbang Alaf Restaurants Sdn Bhd, sued the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia movement for a series of social media posts allegedly linking the fast-food giant to Israel’s “genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.”

The franchise said the boycott movement made “false and defamatory statements” that also led to a loss of profit and job cuts.

McDonald’s added that it “does not support nor condone the current conflict in the Middle East,” Agence France-Presse noted.

BDS Malaysia denied the defamation allegations, adding that it will leave the matter to the courts. The group is part of the global BDS movement that aims to end international support for what it says is Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The legal dispute is taking place against the backdrop of Malaysia’s strong support for Palestinians, with some Muslim-majority nations targeting Western brands over Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ surprise attack on Oct. 7.

Even so, Malaysian netizens have voiced opposition against the lawsuit and have defended BDS Malaysia, according to the South China Morning Post.

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