Starbucks on Wednesday criticized a message by its union about Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israeli civilians.
The union, Starbucks Workers United, posted “Solidarity with Palestine” on social media platform X above an image of a bulldozer operated by Hamas tearing down a fence on the Gaza strip during the attacks against Israel last weekend, according to some news organizations who saw the post.
The union’s account has since deleted the tweet, but not before it sparked some calls for a boycott of Starbucks on social media. Starbucks Workers United did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
In a separate post on X, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry wrote that “the violence in Israel and Palestine is unconscionable. @SEIU stands with all who are suffering, while strongly condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia & hate in all forms. I pray for a swift resolution and a future where all in the region can be happy, safe & live with dignity.” Workers United, which includes the Starbucks union drive, is affiliated with SEIU.
In its statement, Starbucks distanced itself from the reported comments.
“We unequivocally condemn these acts of terrorism, hate and violence, and disagree with the statements and views expressed by Workers United and its members,” Starbucks said in a post. “Workers United’s words and actions belong to them, and them alone,” the company added.
Starbucks (SBUX) separately sent out a note to employees on Wednesday about the war unfolding between Israel and Hamas.
“As a leadership team, we want to again express our deepest sympathy for those who have been killed, wounded, displaced and impacted following the heinous acts of terror, escalating violence and hate against the innocent in Israel and Gaza this week. Starbucks unequivocally condemns acts of hate, terrorism and violence,” wrote Sara Kelly, Starbucks’ executive vice president and chief partner officer. Starbucks refers to employees as partners.
The letter noted that employees have access to mental health resources and that Starbucks will match donations to eligible charities.
Starbucks has been in a bitter fight against the union, often disagreeing with its statements and pushing against its claims. But those disputes have largely been tied to Starbucks operations, rather than world events.
Tensions are playing out in the United States over the response to the attacks by Hamas. Israeli forces are maintaining their bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas’ terror attacks that killed more than 1,300 people. Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is deepening with warnings people are at risk of starvation. Nearly 1,800 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The airstrikes have also displaced 423,000 people, the UN said.
Some online have failed to condemn — or even celebrated — Hamas’ attacks in Israel. This response has drawn fierce criticism by supporters of Israel and many other supporters of Palestine, and in some cases prompted a reversal.
For example, a coalition of Harvard student groups which make up the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups earlier this week released a statement that held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
Some students and their groups have since distanced themselves or withdrawn their endorsements from the statement following backlash inside and outside of the university.
Several said they did not read the statement before they signed it. Later, a billboard truck drove near Harvard’s campus displaying the names and photos of signatories, which itself sparked criticism over potentially putting those people at risk.
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