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LEBANON: Supermarket chain won't sell Melitta coffee filters with Hebrew writing on package

Lebanon-melittaFor those craving a fresh cup of home-made Joe while in Lebanon, finding a pack of coffee filters may become a difficult task.

You might even find yourself crawling from neighborhood corner store to mini-mart to grocery megaplex under the scorching sun searching for filters.

Why? Because though the Arab League may lack the unity to cling to its once-potent boycott of Israel, which from 1942 to 1993 was highly comprehensive, Syria and Lebanon still adhere to an orthodox interpretation.

And though the coffee filters you seek may be German and not Israeli -- Melitta in this instance -- it apparently makes no difference to the Lebanese branch of a major Kuwaiti supermarket chain, The Sultan Center, known by its acronym T.S.C.

At least one T.S.C. supermarket nestled in the quaint, largely Francophone neighborhood of Ashrafiyeh in Beirut recently sent back its shipment of Melitta coffee filters after discovering that the boxes had Hebrew script on the side.

“We saw that they are from Israel so we sent them back," one of the retail assistants said to a customer. "Don’t worry. We will be getting Melitta’s from America instead."

No, they’re not from Israel. Though the sight of the Jewish state’s official language is enough to make some foes of Israel recoil, Melitta’s European Article Number, a bar code listed on all products from the continent, shows that the filters were made in Germany.

Lebanon-melitta 001Melitta does maintain distribution centers all over the world to provide its handy paper product to coffee drinkers in Spain, France, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Romania, Tunisia, and Israel.

Spokespeople for T.S.C. in Kuwait and Lebanon could not be reached for comment.  T.S.C. says it is “eager to work with quality suppliers in all local, regional, and international markets,” according to its website. 

According to some observers, the supermarket has bigger problems than Hebrew script on its products. In August 2008, Lebanese mourned T.S.C.'s takeover of the local branches of Monoprix, a midscale French supermarket chain. Locals frequently lament that prices have since skyrocketed.

A similar complaint of overcharging has been echoed by the U.S. government. The U.S. Department of Justice in November indicted T.S.C. and its parent company, the Public Warehousing Co., a Kuwaiti corporation known as PWC, for allegedly scamming the U.S. Department of Defense out of $8.5 billion.

The U.S. government alleges that T.S.C., in cahoots with PWC, inflated the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables in their contracts with the Pentagon. After PWC paid T.S.C.’s inflated invoice, T.S.C. paid a kickback to PWC in the form of a 10% rebate.

PWC and T.S.C. have provided U.S. troops in the Middle East with food supplies since 2003.

-- Becky Lee Katz in Beirut

Photos: The front of a box of the popular Melitta coffee filters and, below, the Hebrew writing identifying an Israeli distributor on the side. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (14)

OMG - these people are soooo incredibly stupid. No one can bring these losers into the world with the rest of us. What is the difference between an Israeli or American product. So many of the world's products get their beginnings in Isreal - like the computer and the mobile phone !!! Why don't these imbeciles stop using their electronics.

Because they are godless and filled with hate?
Their hate blind their eyes and block their brains.

businesses in Lebanon and Syria in general, are so blinded by their hatred that they won't allow anything on their shelves if it has anything that might be sold in Israel? Tell me, how better to dehumanize people than to make even the slightest reference to them forbidden?
----

"The most significant action Israel could take to demonstrate good faith would be a settlement freeze." - President Reagan 1983

... over and over Israel spits in America's face... under GWB's Roadmap to Peace and again today with the Obama administration ... it's clear that the right-wing extremist Zionist do not want peace!

The New Israel Lobby
The Israel lobby had succeeded in ruling almost any criticism of Israel out of bounds, especially in Congress. “The bottom line,” Mearsheimer and Walt wrote, “is that Aipac, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that U.S. policy is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/magazine/13JStreet-t.html?hpw

And this is News because ? Like we really had to know about this because the injustice is so great nothing else compared to it. Stop waisting our time with these petty BS stories. I guess nothing else is going on in our City, State, Country, World, Solar system or Universe.
Thank you Beck Lee Katz ....Theyll probably give you a freakin .....Pulitzer .....Sheeshhh

I just spit coffee all over my keyboard! ;-)

hehe.. Melita? never heard of it in the first place!

Becky Lee this might seem a personal take on not finding your favorite coffee in supermarkets and for me this is not news at all!

however... we have right to have our own rules and regulations when it comes to labeling, so live with it!

Love!

Sorry D.Gold, you get zero points for that answer. But we have some lovely parting gifts. Even if there are 10 coffee filter brands available, the main point of the article that the owners/managers of this supermarket, and businesses in Lebanon and Syria in general, are so blinded by their hatred that they won't allow anything on their shelves if it has anything that might be sold in Israel? Tell me, how better to dehumanize people than to make even the slightest reference to them forbidden? Not to even get started on Arab media and governments and especially text books and THEIR dehumanizing and hatred-generating depictions of Israel and Jews in general.

A filter is a filter no matter what language is on the box. Again, just shows the anti-Israeli bias that is so prevalent in Arab countries.

Israeli products carry Arabic labels. So what's the issue.

Boy, if this is the case, the peace process still has a long way to go.

That's funny!

Cup of what!

D Gold, You have completely misread this article and this reflects on your own personal bias. I've never seen dehumanizing anti-Arab bias in the USA and there are pro-Arab reportings on the BBC World News all the time. Ditto any reporting on the Middle East by former BBC reporter Dalgit Dalliwald (sp?) now on American broadcasts. The truth is, I don't see any depictions of Arabs or Jews as themselves on American TV, and why should we? Free TV is geared to Blacks these days, Whites pay for cable, and all three Arab, Jew or Balck don't appear!!
And you sport the old canard that Hollywood is controlled by Jews and all the actors are Jewish? that's a new one on me. Rubbish. There is not one Jewish character depicted on TV in this country on any programming today or the recent past. I see no reference to Jewish beliefs in movies whatsoever these days. You don't even know what Jews believe.
When Jews controlled Hollywood in the 20-50's, movies were 'nice' family movies. They were depictions of classical books brought to life. Little Women. Farewell to Arms, hero stories, ect. Today Hollywood is controlled by the stock market investors and the writers are motivated by Gentile movements like Goth, horror, sci-fi, and smutty humor. Adam Sandler makes the later and he is Jewish and the one exception I can think of. Who goes to these movies? YOU and other gentiles.
You liked Borat? Yeech! but he made tens of millions and the box office money didn't come from Jews, as you stated, its a minority. Gentiles go to movies, not Jews.
What do you care who gets the acting job? except to impliedly object to the false idea that Jewish actors get the money depicting WASPS when the money should go to WASPS depicting WASPS. So you also object to Jews earning a living as actors. Too bad for you and your acting career.
Among religious Jews, a career on the stage is a 'shanda' meaning shameful. Movies and TV are forbidden.
You don't know real Jews.

seems that d.gold gets his information from the same source as oliver stone... how dare the media portray jews in a positive light? must be that jews secretly control the media!

This article makes it sound like in Lebanon there are no other coffee filter brands except this one! Really?!!
"For those craving a fresh cup of home-made Joe while in Lebanon, finding a pack of coffee filters may become a difficult task.
You might even find yourself crawling from neighborhood corner store to mini-mart to grocery megaplex under the scorching sun searching for filters."

In a country that you can find not just everything but the best of everything including the much tastier Turkish or Arabic coffee that does not require filter, you better believe there are tens of coffee filter companies.
May be this article points out to something else. The fact that if you want fair and balanced news, one that is not consistently slanted to the Israeli side you would have to look long and hard. You might have to go from coast to coast, from NY to LA and still be disappointed that no such major venue exists. You would have to search the cable channels for hours and you still would not find one that has balanced reporting. You will consistently run across articles that dehumanize Muslims and Arabs. You will see hours of films and TV shows and you will not find any Arabs or Muslims in a fair light. But go watch some major studio films and you will find in every major film there is a reference to the Jewish culture in a very positive light. Jewish actors are offered roles left and right and it is made to seem that Jewish population in America is not a minority like Blacks, Arabs and Muslims but part of the main stream ..hey they are just like you not like those pesky Arab and Muslims. The collaborators in American news media are paving the way for future wars by slowly dehumanizing, Arab and Muslim culture. Well done now lets let the bombs fly!

why can't we all just get along?

because we don't want to, that's why!


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