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Really, What Happened to Your “Pay Every Pence to Save Israel?”

Really, What Happened to Your “Pay Every Pence to Save Israel?”

Pro-Palestinians Muslims have refused to drop their decades-long conspiracy theory that Pepsi Cola is essentially the code name for a Zionist plot – “Pay Every Pence to Save Israel.”

This columnist first heard of the theory when he was a teenager in early 1980s. “Don’t buy Pepsi Cola. Buy Coca Cola,” warned the always pious grocery store owner in the neighbourhood, then explaining why I should not buy Pepsi Cola. “It’s a sin. Good Muslims never drink Pepsi Cola.” I asked him: “So why do you sell Pepsi Cola?”

Ironically, members of the radical left, too, would hate Pepsi Cola, and for the same reason. Neighbourhood kids belonging to the “Turkish revolutionary left” looked like street campaigners for Pepsi Cola’s American rival, sporting their Coca Cola bottles and arguing: “If you buy Pepsi you help the Zionists and American capitalism.”

In the early 1990s when your columnist was an MSc student in Britain Arab and other (most notably a Malaysian) Muslim friends would vigorously warn him not to buy Pepsi or otherwise “you could be viewed as a Zionist and face the consequences.” “What consequences?” I once asked the ‘Malay Prince.’ “Your guess,” he answered, smiling.

Folly is a persistent thing. Even in recent years a member of Hamas, the darling of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his fellow Islamists, (Hamas member of parliament) Salem Salamah told Hamas’s television station Al-Aqsa TV: “There are companies established by the colonialists and occupiers – large companies with branches all over the world, like Pepsi, Pepsi Cola. This is a well-known company. Pepsi is an acronym. P-E-P-S-I – Pay Every Pence to Save Israel. Pay every pence – pence is one-hundredth of a dollar – to save Israel. Pay every pence to save Israel…”

Egyptian cleric Hazem Abu Ismail called for a Muslim boycott of Pepsi because it stands for “Pay Every Penny Saving Israel.” He explained: “They took the first letter of each word – ‘Pay Every Penny Saving Israel’ – and they formed the word Pepsi. When you pay [to buy Pepsi], you are saving Israel … My little son knows more about the boycott than me. When we go shopping, he says to me: ‘Buy this, don’t buy that.’ He knows them by heart.”

I recalled all that man-made nonsense when a newspaper headline heralded that Mr Erdoğan inaugurated a $150 million Pepsi factory in western Turkey. Since Mr Erdoğan cannot be a crypto Zionist his fellow Islamist conspiracy theorists should rethink their “Pay Every Penny Saving Israel” acronym.

Did, really, the Turkish Islamists have to wait for decades to shyly ignore one of their millions of conspiracy theories? Did they have to wait so long until one of them merrily inaugurated a $$$$ plant owned by a Zionist soft drinks producer? Is drinking Pepsi halal now that Mr Erdoğan himself attended the ceremony?

Now, dear Islamists, enjoy your soft drinks and get lost.

About The Author

Burak Bekdil

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based Turkish political columnist who wrote for Hurriyet Daily News [formerly Turkish Daily News] for 29 years. He has covered Turkey for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. Previously, Bekdil worked as Ankara Bureau Chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He contributes to annual national defense sector reviews for anti-corruption institutions like Transparency International and Global Integrity. Bekdil is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Gatestone Institute and Middle East Quarterly. He also contributes to Perspectives, a journal of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv.James Cuno, art historian and President of the J. Paul Getty Trust, describes Bekdil as "a frequent critic of Prime Minister [now president] Recep Tayyip Erdogan." In 2001, a Heavy Crimes Court in Ankara sentenced Bekdil to a suspended, 20-month prison sentence for his column in which he satirized corruption in the judiciary.Bekdil's comments, quotes and articles have been published in international media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Commentator, New York Times, Kathimerini, National Review Online, Algemeiner, NPR, Washington Times, Die Presse, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Toronto Star, Financial Times, Al-Monitor, Le Figaro, ABC, El Pais, Stern, Al-Arabiya, Helsingin Sanomat, Racjonalista, Defence Greece, Moyen-Orient, Courier International, ISN Security Watch and Coloquio (of Congreso Judio Latinoamerico) and the Jewish Chronicle (London).(Born: Ankara, 1966; Undergraduate: Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; Post-graduate: Department of Economics, University of Surrey, United Kingdom)

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