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Pepsi’s ‘Israeli flag’ design causes uproar in Lebanon – media

The soft drink’s local bottler reportedly rolled out a blue-and-white logo reminiscent of the Jewish state’s banner

A formal complaint has reportedly been filed against the PepsiCo bottler in Lebanon over a new design reminiscent of the Israeli flag, according to local media, with many calling for a boycott of the brand in the country.

The Lebanese Modern Company for Trade (LMCT) recently rolled out a blue-and-white cap for its glass bottles, featuring two stripes around the name, Beirut-based outlet L’Orient Today reported. The new logo triggered a “nationwide campaign” against the company, it said.

According to the publication, Lebanese lawyer Ziad Jaafil filed a complaint with the Beirut Public Prosecution Office last week, requesting that the bottler stop the use of the logo “due to its similarity in colors and layout to the Israeli flag.”

The lawyer reportedly accused the Lebanese bottler of “inciting strife” and “violations of the boycott laws” against Israel.

The filing of the complaint was confirmed by a prominent imam in Beirut, Hassan Moraib, in a post on X (formerly Twitter). According to the cleric, the document demands that the LMCT immediately withdraw its products from the market.

The new logo has reportedly outraged locals. People in South and North Lebanon attempted to prevent Pepsi distribution trucks from entering their areas, according to L’Orient Today. Storeowners have reportedly emptied Pepsi bottles and cans in the streets and destroyed them.

One video shared on social media purportedly shows a Muslim preacher expelling a Pepsi distributor from the town of Bar Elias.

LMCT released a statement denying the “baseless accusations” of supporting Israel, L’Orient Today added.

Lebanon supports the Arab League’s decades-long policy of boycotting Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians. Calls to stop buying goods made by American companies that are seen as supportive of the Jewish state have surged since the latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in October.

Lebanon shares a border with Israel and is home to Hezbollah, a Shia Muslim militia that views the Jewish state as an enemy. Hezbollah and the Israeli military have exchanged rocket attacks across the border. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced earlier this month that it had finalized “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.” Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, responded by saying the militia is prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel.

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