Malaysia: McDonald's denies 'Israel link' in newspaper ad

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McDonald's in Malaysia is pleading against a planned boycott of its products over alleged links to Israel, saying it is not linked in any way to "any political activity, violence or oppression".

In a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper, the fast-food giant says that taking action against it will only hurt its 12,000 Malaysian employees - over 85% of whom are Muslim - the Malay Mail Online reports. McDonald's has recently been facing accusations that it has been helping to fund Israeli attacks on Gaza. The chain is also having to deny rumours it will give away free burgers and drinks on Friday. "We would like to clarify that the notices on free McDonald's food posted on Facebook were not issued by McDonald's, and we are unable to honour it. It is a hoax produced by an irresponsible party," the company says in a statement.

A pro-Palestinian rally in the capital Kuala Lumpur saw calls to boycott a list of products and companies including McDonald's, and similar calls are circulating on social media. Two protests have also been held outside the McDonald's outlets in Malaysia this week. A majority of Malaysians are Muslim and sympathy for the Palestinian cause is widespread. Earlier this year, a survey by the Anti-Defamation League found nearly two-thirds of Malaysians admitted to having anti-Jewish attitudes.

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