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Coke to talk settlement in Egyptian suit

The Zionist Organization of America canceled a planned protest at a Coca-Cola shareholders’ meeting after the company agreed to discuss settling claims that its Egyptian operations benefited from the seizure of Jewish property.A Coca-Cola senior vice president contacted ZOA President Morton Klein on Tuesday asking what could be done to head off the protest, planned for Wednesday in Wilmington, Del. Klein consented to call off the protest if Coke would discuss a settlement of the issue and allow Len Getz, a former ZOA national vice president and Coca-Cola shareholder, to raise the issue with other shareholders. Getz had tried unsuccessfully to place the issue on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. Coca-Cola has sought to avoid a trial in a lawsuit brought by the Bigio family, Egyptian Jews now residing in Canada, who claim that property seized by state authorities in the 1960s is now being used by the company’s Egyptian bottler. Coke has said it does not own the property in question and has moved to try the case in Egypt. The U.S. Supreme Court denied that request last month, clearing the path for the lawsuit to proceed. In March, the ZOA called for a boycott of Coke, alleging that it profited from an anti-Semitic campaign. A company spokesperson was unavailable for comment.