Shalom Life | March 26, 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.”

Facebook Integrates Israeli App into Messenger Facebook Integrates Israeli App into Messenger TrendingToronto's Iconic Pancer’s Deli To Reopen Toronto's Iconic Pancer’s Deli To Reopen TrendingDisney Producing Animated Series in Jerusalem? Disney Producing Animated Series in Jerusalem? Trending
 

Facebook Integrates Israeli App into Messenger

March 26, 2015 | By NoCamels Team
Facebook Integrates Israeli App into Messenger

Social media giant incorporates Magisto, an app that turns photos and videos into a short animated film

Read More

Toronto's Iconic Pancer’s Deli To Reopen

March 26, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Toronto's Iconic Pancer’s Deli To Reopen

The deli, which was sold five years ago and closed earlier this year, is back in Pancer's hands and won't be leaving them any time soon

Read More

Israeli Scientists Accurately Determine The Length Of A Day On Saturn

March 26, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Israeli Scientists Accurately Determine The Length Of A Day On Saturn

Using a new technique, a team of scientists from the Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute have found a way to study the passing of time in other planets of the solar system

Read More

Harvey Weinstein Takes Home Humanitarian Award, Urges Jews To Kick anti-Semites "in the Ass”

March 26, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Harvey Weinstein Takes Home Humanitarian Award, Urges Jews To Kick anti-Semites "in the Ass”

During his acceptance speech during the Simon Wiesenthal Center's National Tribute Dinner, Weinstein asked people to stand up against violence and oppression

Read More

Meet Shalom Life's Top 20 Under 40, Class of 2015

March 26, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Meet Shalom Life's Top 20 Under 40, Class of 2015

Profiling the best and the brightest of Jewish Toronto

Read More

Jason Segel Tapped to Write/Direct New 'Lego' Movie

March 26, 2015 | By Sy Berg
Jason Segel Tapped to Write/Direct New 'Lego' Movie

Segel, who helped Disney revive 'The Muppets', will work alongside 'Iron Man 3' writer Drew Pearce

Read More

Parents, Widow of Fallen IDF Soldier Battle Over Custody of His Sperm

March 26, 2015 | By Yoram Yarkoni
Parents, Widow of Fallen IDF Soldier Battle Over Custody of His Sperm

Groundbreaking ruling awards parents of Israeli soldier right to use his sperm to father a child, despite his widow's objections

Read More

Chicago Tribune Cartoon Paints Bibi As Murderous Warmonger

March 26, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Chicago Tribune Cartoon Paints Bibi As Murderous Warmonger

The publication allowed "the mainstreaming of incendiary lies about the leader of the Jewish state," says Simon Wiesenthal Center

Read More

More Headlines