Fact Check

McDonalds Supports Injured Palestinians

Is McDonald's donating money to injured Palestinians?

Published Jan 28, 2001

Claim:   McDonald's is donating a portion of their sales to injured Palestinians.

Status:   Not quite.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

McDonald's has announced that 30 cents out of every dollar of purchases in its 60 branches in Saudi Arabia will be donated as of today to the Palestinians injured at the occupied territories. Please BOYCOTT their stores.

Origins:   As usual, there is a kernel of truth to this one, but even the short statement quoted above is distorted and misleading.

In short, after renewed violence between Israeli and Palestinians broke out last year, there were calls in Arab countries for boycotts of U.S. products (because of U.S. support for Israel). In an attempt to win back customers who had been boycotting their restaurants, McDonald's branches in Saudi Arabia announced that during the month of Ramadan, they would donate one riyal (about 26¢) out of every meal sold to Palestinian childrens' hospitals. That announcement brought calls for boycotts of McDonald's in other parts of the world (such as the U.S.) to protest their support of Palestinians.

It is important to note that:

  • Ramadan ended on December 26, so this item is no longer current.
  • The money donated by Saudi Arabian McDonald's outlets was earmarked for "Palestinian childrens'
    hospitals," not "injured Palestinians." Some of the injured Palestinians might have been children, of course, but the implication of the text quoted above is that the money was being given to any "Palestinian injured in the occupied territories."
  • The McDonald's franchises in Saudi Arabia (which, according to McDonald's, number 32, not 60) are operated by Riyadh International Catering Corporation, a 100% Saudi national company. Their decision to donate a portion of their sales to a particular cause is their own policy, not a McDonald's corporate policy, so boycotting McDonald's outlets throughout the rest of the world is unlikely to be an effective form of protest.

A late-January 2001 version of the rumor shows that the claim about whom the money was supposedly going to had changed drastically:

McDonald's just announced that 30 cents out of every Dollar of purchases in its 60 branches in Saudi Arabia will be donated as of today to the Palestinian intifada against the Israelis.

Please BOYCOTT their stores
Please send this message to all your e-mail pals

According to this updated version, McDonald's is underwriting Palestine's fight with Israel over disputed territory, not helping injured Palestinians. This significantly more button-pushing version is also false.

Last updated:   5 January 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Abu-Nasr, Donna.   "Arabs Boycott U.S. Products Over Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."

    The [Newark] Star-Ledger.   1 December 2000.

    Al-Amri, Sahar.   "There Is A Need for More Positive Attitude Toward Work."

    Middle East Newsfile.   8 December 2000.

    Mideast Mirror.   "Breaking with Israel and Boycotting America."

6 December 2000.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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