Israel-Hamas conflict leads to vandalism of Starbucks and other businesses in Durham

Photo by Beth Sawyer

Multiple Durham businesses, including at least five Starbucks locations, were vandalized Saturday amid accusations the companies are supporting Israel in its war in Gaza against Hamas.

At approximately 4:55 a.m., 911 dispatchers advised that there were multiple vandalism calls throughout the city that appeared to be related, according to a Durham Police Department statement. Officers determined that seven businesses were vandalized.

Durham police did not identify all seven businesses, but Starbucks confirmed that at least five of its locations were vandalized. “Kid Killers,” “Kids Killers” and “Don’t Support Kid Killers” were spray-painted all over the exterior of those Starbucks locations.

Pro-Palestinian groups have accused Starbucks of supporting Israel and called for a boycott of the coffee chain.

“We are aware of a series of incidents occurring overnight on Nov. 10 at our Durham – Chapel Hill & Tower Blvd, N Roxboro St & Fairfield St. and Guess Rd and Horton Rd. locations,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement Saturday. “The experience and well-being of our partners and customers is core to our operation, and we continue to work with local police to support their investigation.

“These locations are currently operating, working with modified services, as Starbucks local teams work towards remediation and repairs.”

The Starbucks spokesperson also said that the Renaissance Center and Highway 55/Allendown Drive locations experienced incidents. The Allendown Drive location was closed on Saturday to “prioritize partner safety.”

The Durham Police Department said it will conduct property checks at the businesses in an attempt to deter further acts of crime.

Anyone with information is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.

The Durham Police Department recently came under fire for its handling of a Nov. 2 march when protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza war blocked two lanes of the Durham Freeway for two hours, stalling rush hour traffic.

Calls for boycott of Starbucks

Starbucks is among the companies that have found themselves in the middle of the Middle East conflict.

On Oct. 9, two days after Hamas militants rampaged across communities in southern Israel, Starbucks Workers United posted “Solidarity with Palestine!” on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Associated Press reported.

Starbucks Workers United said the post went up without the authorization of union leaders.

Starbucks responded with a statement criticizing the union’s post and saying it did not condone the violence occurring in Gaza.

Since then, calls to boycott Starbucks have flooded social media feeds.

Some are upset with Starbucks for not supporting its workers and for not denouncing Israel, while others who support Israel are disappointed the post was made in the first place, according to Newsweek.

Now Starbucks and the union are suing each other over the social media post.

On Thursday, pro-Palestinian demonstrators stormed the lobby of The New York Times building in midtown Manhattan. At a Starbucks coffee location on the first floor of the building, a person spray-painted “blood on your hands,” “boycott,” “free Gaza” and “free Palestine,” The New York Daily News reported.