I started this blog because I left Boston to live and work in London for a while, and I wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. I'm back now, but still have plenty of opinions on world news, politics, the media and the absolute craziness that comes from dealing with people. Bring it.

27 December 2005

Paper Cup Incident

Check out this hard-hitting story from The Arab News!

Apparently, no one in Saudi Arabia wanted anyone to know that they buy PAPER CUPS from Israel. With everything going on in that part of the world today, it's clear that this is a huge issue.

From the fabulous article:

"We were shocked and angry," said a hospital employee. "How can Israeli products be allowed and how did they enter this hospital?" he asked.

The Filipino employee who works in the Al-Musbah coffee shop asked: "Why is everybody mad about the cups?" He was told: "Because they are made in Israel!"

According to hospital officials, the matter is being investigated and action will be taken.
So many things about this are absolutely hilarious. First of all, the cups are from a well-known Israeli coffeehouse chain usually located in malls around the country. The logo, as seen above in the photo that accompanied the story in Arab News (consider this my attribution for use of the photo), is VERY prominent on the cups. The irony is too much.

I also wish someone would tell these "outraged" people who are "investigating and taking action" that its quite likely that some of the medical equipment in their hospital likely came from Israel as well. Will they investigate and take action about that, too?

Interestingly, the media in other parts of the world had a different view, or at least were less "outraged." Israeli outlets like The Jerusalem Post ( and Yediot Ahronot ( talk about trade between Israel and Arab countries in a larger sense talking about how much this "secret" trade likely generates. Haaretz ( featured a headline that seemed overly optimistic to me:

Hidden trade just waiting for a political deal.
And most news outlets in the US ran an AP story on the "incident."

Its truly amazing to me that this is even a news story. And I must say I'm a little amazed that Arab News included the story on an English web site -- I have got to think that most of the world is scratching their heads at the level of urgency in the piece...

The reporter, in what appears to be a serious series of paragraphs, describes going to the website of the company in Israel who manufactured the cups, and according to him, "it was found to be in Hebrew." (In just the sort of tone an American news outlet might say a website was "found to condone necrophilia.") Apparently, the HEBREW WRITING on the actual cup wasn't enough proof -- they needed to go to the Web site to make sure there was a real story here!

He then called the distributor, and details his conversation with him. Finally, he mentions that the distributor promised to pass along the supplier's contact information, leading me to believe there will be a follow-up story on this international crime of commerce. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna be hitting the web site regularly to see what "Jeelani" (quotation marks courtesy of Arab News. Perhaps they don't believe that's his real name...?) has to say for himself.

The story ends on an ominous note. "The paper cups were quickly withdrawn from use, but might there not be other, less obvious Israeli products in our shops and marketplaces?"

Be very, very afraid! :)


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