Local soft-drink maker in Bangladesh runs anti-Semitic campaign dubbing Coca-Cola as ‘Israeli’ products

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Coke, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Pepsi, 7Up and Mirinda, Products from Israel, Nestlé, Palestinians, Hamas, Pizza Hut, KFC, Coca-Cola Icecek

A local maker of soft-drinks in Bangladesh is backing a massive anti-Semitic campaign targeting Coke (Coca-Cola), Sprite, Fanta, Pepsi, 7Up and Mirinda resulting in countrywide boycott of these products by branding it as “products from Israel”. Similarly, few more local manufacturers are targeting a very large number of foreign products such as Nestlé products, Unilever products etcetera. Meanwhile, only within the span of three months, a local soft-drink manufacturer that produces the ‘Mojo’ brand has already emerged into a dominating soft-drink brand thus knocking-out Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others. This company has openly declared of donating BDT 1 per bottle to Palestinians in Gaza.

Immediately after Israel began its military operations in Gaza last year, an individual named Pinaki Bhattacharya first began a campaign through YouTube, Meta (Facebook) and ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) calling upon people to boycott everything manufactured by Israeli and Jewish companies. He earlier called upon youths to join jihad against Israel and Jews for “elimination of Israel from the global map”. Pinaki has been living in France as an asylum-seeker for some years.

On his Facebook post, Pinaki stated, “Jihad is the only way [to] eliminate Israel from the map of the world. All my fans and followers should join the cause”.

Although according to French law, jihadist recruitment is a punishable crime, no action has been taken against this individual. In 2014, France drafted a law aimed at stopping  aspiring jihadists from travelling, which includes a ban on foreign travel for up to six months for individuals suspected of radicalization and gives the authorities the power to confiscate and invalidate their passports temporarily.

Pinaki Bhattacharya has 670k followers on his Facebook page. In addition to Facebook, Pinaki Bhattacharya has 55.2k followers on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) and a YouTube channel with 1.64 million subscribers. He has been using all of the social media and video-sharing platforms in spreading propaganda against Israel, Jews, India and Hindus and instigating communal riot and jihad.

In a video content released on April 24, notoriously anti-Hindu, anti-Bharat and anti-Semite Pinaki Bhattacharya has said, “in South Asia, Bharat has become a hated nation” and termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “butcher”. He termed mega-terror outfit Hamas kingpin Ismail Heniyeh as “respected Ismail Heniyeh” and openly expressed solidarity towards Hamas atrocities of October 7, 2023 and applauded rape of Jewish girls and females.

Pinaki Bhattacharya’s anti-Semite and anti-Hindu propaganda has resulted in massive public sentiment against Jews and Israel in particular.

Meanwhile, according to media reports a 60-second Coca-Cola advertisement in Bangladesh has caused a storm of criticism for the beverage giant. Qatar-based Al Jazeera in a report said, Coca-Cola sales have declined by about 23 percent in Bangladesh since the Gaza war. In recent months, the company has intensified its advertising campaign in the country – from full-page newspaper advertisements to prominent placements on news websites.

In its latest attempt to boost sales, the company on Sunday released an advertisement on television and social media, aimed at dispelling the “misinformation” that Coca-Cola is an Israeli product, arguing that the beverage “has been enjoyed for 138 years by people in 190 countries”.

The advertisement in Bengali opens on a hot day in a market, with a young man approaching a middle-aged shopkeeper as the latter watches a song from Coke Studio, a popular music series the cola company promotes in several South Asian countries, on his mobile phone.

Dhaka’s leading English newspaper The Daily Star, a sister concern of Transcom that distributes Pepsi and Nestlé products and holds franchise license of KFC and Pizza Hut has been also encouraging the boycott of Coca-Cola although lately Pepsi, Nestlé products, KFC and Pizza Hut have also been branded as “Israeli and Jewish products” and people are calling for boycotting these items.

In February, Coca-Cola sold its Bangladeshi bottling operations to a Turkish associate, Coca-Cola Icecek, a move the company denied was related to declining sales.

Commenting on the ongoing market disaster for Coca-Cola, media experts said the company has fallen into trap as its advertising agency in Bangladesh is connected to its business rivals. To overcome this situation, Coca-Cola needs to come up with a marketing strategy urgently. Otherwise, this brand may ultimately become “forbidden” to consumers in Bangladesh forever.

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