Shalom Life | October 25, 2014

Op-Ed: BDS Victory Over SodaStream May Equal 900 Palestinians Out of Work

SodaStream is moving its Ma’ale Adumim factory to the Negev

By: Daniel Koren

Published: August 26th, 2014 in Business » Israel

Op-Ed: BDS Victory Over SodaStream May Equal 900 Palestinians Out of Work

One of the biggest news stories that accompanied the start of 2014 was Scarlett Johansson being named as the global ambassador of SodaStream, an Israeli company based out of the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, which develops home carbonation systems that allow users to convert tap water into sparkling water, in more than 100 flavors.

Fresh off of signing the contract with SodaStream, Johansson found herself quickly under fire for supporting a company in "occupied" Palestinian Territories, with New York Magazine referring to the company as "blood bubbles." Reza Aslan, a well-known writer and academic, later called Johansson a Nazi supporter for working with SodaStream.

The confrontation didn't end there, however. The SodaStream ad Johansson appeared in would end up almost being banned by the Super Bowl - though they claimed it wasn't political - and she would end up stepping down from her long-held post as global ambassador of Oxfam due to a "fundamental difference of opinion." Obviously, anti-Israel crusader Roger Waters also condemned the actress for her unwavering support of SodaStream.

In the days that followed, many argued that Oxfam was being hypocritical and that the waves of protesters who began advocating for the boycott of SodaStream would hurt both Israelis AND Palestinians. After all, 900 Palestinians were employed at the company's biggest plastics and metals factory in Ma’ale Adumim.

"Those who seek to help the Palestinians end up hurting us," said Nabil Bashrat, 40, a resident of Ramallah who worked at the factory.

"(The factory) provides income to hundreds of families, entire villages. Peace is what happens here inside, and not outside. Those who are abroad don't understand the relations and actually sabotage the process. The factory draws us closer. Even in times of instability, as was during the war in Gaza, everything was as usual here."

Unfortunately for Bashrat, however, and the other 900 Palestinian SodaStream employees, it seems the BDS supporters are more concerned with boycotting Israeli businesses who 'occupy' Palestinian settlements than helping the actual Palestinian people themselves.

Now, it seems the supporters finally have their wish: SodaStream has announced, in a reported non-political move, that they are opening up a new factory in a land that indisputably belongs to Israel (unless you're a member of Hamas or ISIS), near the town of Lahavim in the Negev.

This could potentially mean that, if they evacuate the West Bank factory, the Israeli company will no longer be "occupying" in there any longer. Good job, BDS supporters.

Oh, it would also mean that 900 Palestinians - the people you claim you're trying to protect here - are now out of a job.

The company will make the move sometime in 2015. While it will still practice its equal opportunity hiring practices, it seems more likely that the region's Bedouin and African communities will be reaping the benefits of employment as opposed to the Palestinians.

Great job BDS supporters. Way to help out those Palestinians you know and understand so much.

UPDATE: As predicted, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum has announced that the company may indeed close its doors in its West Bank location, and also said it was not due to the boycott. “The considerations will be purely financial, and do not include the European boycott on manufacturing in the territories,” said Birnbaum. “Nor [will they include] the various calls to boycott products of the company because of its location in Ma’aleh Adumim. The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage. We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionist.”

Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup' Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup' TrendingStartup Club: Hello Doctor Startup Club: Hello Doctor TrendingPÜR Gum Makes Long Lasting Impression on Dragon's Den PÜR Gum Makes Long Lasting Impression on Dragon's Den Trending
 

Seinfeld Finally Joins Facebook and Instagram [VIDEO]

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seinfeld Finally Joins Facebook and Instagram [VIDEO]

A hilarious video shows Michael Richards asking Seinfeld to take out Netflix and Hulu.

Read More

Seth Rogen and Megan Fox Join James Franco’s ‘Zeroville’

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen and Megan Fox Join James Franco’s ‘Zeroville’

Rogen and Fox will be co-starring alongside Will Ferrell, Danny McBride and Dave Franco

Read More

Mila Kunis Dolls Are Coming To a Store Near You

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mila Kunis Dolls Are Coming To a Store Near You

Adorable dolls featuring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum in 'Jupiter Ascending' are coming out in January

Read More

Jews Around the World to Take Part in the Shabbat Project

October 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Jews Around the World to Take Part in the Shabbat Project

Jews in 460 cities across the world to take part in the inspirational Jewish initiative, including Paula Abdul and Mayim Bialik

Read More

Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup'

October 24, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup'

Inc. magazine credits Israeli DIY website creation platform with taking a complicated task and making it enjoyable

Read More

‘Fury’ A Blistering Account of World War II—Sans the Holocaust

October 24, 2014 | By Jason Stack, JNS.org
‘Fury’ A Blistering Account of World War II—Sans the Holocaust

The Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf-starring film essentially omits the brunt of the Holocaust from World War II

Read More

Israeli Company Shows that Energy Does in Fact Grow on Trees

October 24, 2014 | By NoCamels Team
Israeli Company Shows that Energy Does in Fact Grow on Trees

The eTree is a solar-powered urban habitat that is constructed from metal pipes and topped with solar panels

Read More

For the First Time Ever, Women of the Wall Hold Torah Reading at the Kotel

October 24, 2014 | By Kobi Nachshoni
For the First Time Ever, Women of the Wall Hold Torah Reading at the Kotel

Western Wall rabbi says "This will never happen again" after the group managed to smuggle a tiny scroll into the women's section of the Western Wall

Read More

More Headlines