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Nicole Meged

Nicki Meged: My View on the The Boycott Against Soda Stream

by Nicki Meged, March 25, 2014

SodaStream was first introduced to the beverage market in the early 1900’s, as a system that allowed buyers to create homemade carbonated beverages. Today, this innovative system has produced approximately 1.5 billion liters of assorted carbonated beverages, straight from buyers’ homes.

In 2005, a boycott was launched against SodaStream in an effort to terminate the company’s manufacturing plant, which is located in Ma’ale Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, right outside of Jerusalem. The reasoning for this boycott stems from the fact that the plant is located in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, which is believed by many to be occupied land which once belonged to five Palestinian towns and two Bedouin Tribes.

If you thought that these boycott campaigns were limited to the Palestinian people, you were wrong. Both Palestinian and non-Palestinian individuals are actively participating in the campaigns. Various countries and organizations have named SodaStream inhumanitarian. In fact, Human Rights Watch stated, “It is impossible to ignore the Israeli system of unlawful discrimination, land confiscation, natural resource theft, and forced displacement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where SodaStream is located".

Norway, Sweden and Finland have cut off all business ventures with SodaSteam. When this became public, the CEO of SodaStream, Daniel Birnbaum made a statement explaining that the boycotts do not affect SodaStream’s  growth rate, as SodaStream products sold in these countries are made in China, which he sarcastically called “the mother of human rights” (a point well made, I believe).  Even the United Church of Canada has recently launched a campaign against the company.

This controversy has reached the mainstream crowd as well, following the resignation of Hollywood actress Scarlet Johanasson from the organization Oxfam, for whom she was an ambassador for eight years, after Oxfam publically stated that SodaStream’s manufacturing plant is “furthering the poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian people”.

If you were to just follow the news of the boycotts, you wouldn’t know that SodaStream has employed five hundred Palestinians, four hundred and fifty Israeli-Arabs and three hundred and fifty Israeli Jews, whom all work together and receive the same rights, benefits, and pay. Not only that, but SodaStream’s Palestinian worokers receive four to five times higher pay compared to in the Palestinian Authority, where unemployment rates are 30%, and increasing.

SodaStream has used their company to bridge the gap between Palestinians and Israelis. While some may call this company inhumanitarian, I believe that what is truly unfair would be if SodaStream was forced to close their manufacturing plant, and take away the employment of hundreds of Palestinians who have found opportunity in this company.

It is so easy to make accusations and pass judgment, and it takes a fair amount of consideration and diligence to verify the truth, and to genuinely determine which part of this controversy is lawful and honest.

That’s not to say that personal opinions aren’t legitimate. They are, but be sure that they are formed from facts and true knowledge.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.