Palestine Cola takes off amid global boycott of pro-Israel Western companies

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Palestine Cola takes off amid global boycott of pro-Israel Western companies
Palestine Cola takes off amid global boycott of pro-Israel Western companies

Africa-Press – Tanzania. Two Palestinian brothers in the Swedish city of Malmo have begun producing a soft drink named Palestine Cola, with an aim to donate any profits to Palestinians.

Israel’s brutal war on Gaza, where it has so far killed more than 32,200 Palestinians, prompted mass protests around the world and boycotts of many international brands, including top beverage and coffee companies and fast-food chains.

Amid the worldwide campaign to boycott Western producers that profit from Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank or support Israel in any way, Mohamed and Ahmad Hassoun saw a market gap due to high demand for substitutes for larger brands.

Their company, Palestine Drinks, was launched in February, Mohamed Kiswani, the press officer for Safad Food AB, the Swedish firm behind it, told Anadolu.

Palestine Cola represents “a symbol of unity and purpose,” according to the company.

The Hassoun family comes from the large Palestinian town of Safad, from where they were driven out during the British mandate in 1948.

They were forced to live in refugee camps in the south of Lebanon, before eventually relocating to Sweden.

On a cold November day in Malmo, the two brothers sat down to try and come up with a project to help Palestinians, who are facing what many around the world say is a genocide being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.

This is when Palestine Drinks began to take shape, with experts and consultants helping the family, which owns a successful car and property company in Sweden but had no previous experience in the food and beverage industry.

“The market, restaurants, stores and people wanted alternatives to the larger brands, so we thought why not make it a charity project and call it Palestine Drinks, for people to remember the name and to be proud of the brand. So that’s the main reason why this idea came to life,” Kiswani said between back-to-back meetings.

“We have launched an alternative brand for everyone who wants… a company that supports Palestinians.”

Overwhelming response

Proud of its role as a project to help fellow Palestinians, the brothers initially saw it as a small initiative targeting only the Swedish market.

When the drinks hit the shelves, however, the public response was overwhelming and totally unexpected.

“As soon as we pushed out a million cans, they just immediately sold out, as this brand markets itself,” said Kiswani, adding that a key factor is that people are confident that it is for a good cause.

The drinks are currently sold in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, but orders keep coming in from other parts of Europe, the US, Australia, Japan, Arab countries, parts of Asia and even Latin America.

The company feels the sky is the limit for this brand and is currently in the process of expanding beyond Scandinavia, with plans to have it available in other countries within the next two or three months.

“So, we have about 900 orders from companies all over the world wanting to be our distributor. We have not had time to answer all the emails yet,” Kiswani said.

The company’s drinks are designed to appeal to all taste buds “regardless of preference,” available in original, sugar-free, orange and lemonade flavors, as well as an energy drink variant.

“We decided to go with the cola flavor, which we thought tasted better than other alternatives on the market today,” he said.

The can’s logo features an olive tree, a Palestinian symbol since ancient times, and a bottom pattern that represents the Palestinian keffiyeh, a historic emblem of Palestinian nationalism.

“So, the main idea here is to reach all of the world, to keep everyone remembering that Palestine exists in the memory of this family and in the memory of every Palestinian family,” said Kiswani.

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