Shalom Life | January 30, 2015

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.”

Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction TrendingIsraelis Develop 3D Metal Printer Israelis Develop 3D Metal Printer Trending@CrazyJewishMom Instagram Account Goes Viral @CrazyJewishMom Instagram Account Goes Viral Trending
 

Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

January 30, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

Almost a century after the physicist's trip to the Holy Land, postcard sells for $56,000

Read More

55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe

January 30, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe

Skull disovered near Nahariya is "a key piece in the puzzle of human evolution"

Read More

Chelsea Handler is Topless on Camel Wearing Israeli Flag Pasties

January 29, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Chelsea Handler is Topless on Camel Wearing Israeli Flag Pasties

Handler's "free the nipple" campaign continues this time in Israel.

Read More

Roseanne Barr For Next Season of ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

January 29, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Roseanne Barr For Next Season of ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

The comedian is considering appearing on the 20th season of ABC's dancing competition.

Read More

Netflix Secures Original ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ Cast For New Series [VIDEO]

January 29, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Netflix Secures Original ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ Cast For New Series [VIDEO]

Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, and Amy Poehler returning for the upcoming series.

Read More

Adam Lambert Announces Album Title

January 29, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Adam Lambert Announces Album Title

'The Original High' was announced on Lambert's 33rd birthday.

Read More

Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations

January 29, 2015 | By Ben Cohen, JNS.org
 Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations

It's hard to think of another body that would organize a special meeting on the subject of rising anti-Semitism with anti-Semites not just in attendance, but making speeches as well

Read More

Israelis Develop 3D Metal Printer

January 29, 2015 | By NoCamels Team
Israelis Develop 3D Metal Printer

The revolutionary 3-D printing system is the first of its kind in Israel

Read More

More Headlines