BDS Success: Israeli Firm Sodastream Leaves Palestinian West Bank after Boycott

By Juan Cole

AJ+ SodaStream Leaving West Bank After Boycotts

AJ+ :

“Facing an intensive boycott campaign, the controversial Israeli company that makes home soda machines is leaving the West Bank. Bye, Sodastream!”


Informed Comment wrote on this issue last January:

“The determination of the Likud Party to annex the Palestinian West Bank is damaging the interests of world Jewry. This harm is clearly visible in the controversy that has engulfed movie star Scarlett Johansson, who was a global ambassador for the Oxfam charity and who also agreed to become a spokesperson for the Israeli company Sodastream, which has a factory in the Occupied West Bank. She will star in a Superbowl commercial for the company.

Oxfam points out that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank is illegal, and it is opposed to trade with settler commercial enterprises based there. The Sodastream factory in set in a 40,000-strong Israeli squatter settlement designed to cut East Jerusalem off from the West Bank and make a Palestinian state impossible. Israel squatters divert most of the West Bank’s water and other resources to themselves, leaving Palestinians impoverished.

In the end, Ms. Johansson had to choose between the two, and she gave up her association with Oxfam.

The Israeli Occupation institutions in the Palestinian West Bank are increasingly being boycotted, especially in Europe (Oxfam is based in Britain). Although it is clearly illegal for an Occupying Power to move its population into occupied territory (Geneva Convention of 1949), far right wing Israeli governments have flooded this Palestinian territory with hundreds of thousands of illegal squatters, who have usurped Palestinian property, confined Palestinians to Bantustans, and imposed onerous checkpoints on them. The Jewish supremacist squatter settlements are Jewish-only and no Palestinian can live in them. The militant squatters are often heavily armed and are increasingly attacking Palestinians and their mosques and other institutions, as well as waging economic warfare on them by cutting down their olive trees.

The European Union has decided to use its economic clout to push back against the clear Israeli determination to annex the whole West Bank while keeping its indigenous Palestinian population stateless and without the rights of citizenship.

The European Union has insisted that Israeli institutions and companies based in the Palestinian West Bank be excluded from any Israeli participation in a program of the European Union. (The EU treats Israel like a member, offering it many perquisites, opportunities for technology interchange, and access to EU markets; Brussels is saying, however, that none of that largesse can go to Israelis in the Occupied Weat Bank.)

About a third of Israel’s trade is with Europe (the US and China are its biggest trading partners, and Turkey comes after the EU). The EU imports $300 million a year from the settlements, but is clearly moving toward cutting that trade off…”

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10 Responses

  1. The organizers of the boycott:

    Some have pointed out that Sodastream employs many Palestinian Arab factory workers, providing them with a substantial wage, and this boycott’s goal will cause hundreds of West Bank Palestinians to lose their jobs.

    • Some have pointed out that Sodastream employs many Palestinian Arab factory workers, providing them with a substantial wage,…

      On the other hand there have been countless businesses, legal and illegal, that provided good wages to some of their employees for dishonorable and immoral behavior. There were unions that were pleased with the well-paying jobs that the Vietnam and other wars created, but that was nothing more than blood money.

    • Mark Koroi: Some have pointed out that Sodastream employs many Palestinian Arab factory workers, providing them with a substantial wage. . .
      Yes Mark, and some have pointed out that American slaves enjoyed a better and more secure life than did their poor but free contemporaries in the North and Europe.

    • Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada website has pointed out that the Israeli government has given Sodastream a $20 million grant to construct another factory in the Negev Desert where Bedouins are in the process of being displaced. The idea being that the pastoral Bedouin community will be broken up by the factory job opportunities to be afforded by Sodastream in a future Negev facility.

      There’s also the question one may ask as to what is going to happen to the actual factory building in the West Bank where the Sodastream is closing down – will it simply revert to the control of another Israeli corporation trying to take advantage of the cheap labor market there?

  2. during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa we had many apologists for the regime arguing that sanctions hurt the group they purport to support. Once again we see Israeli apartheid apologists using the same tactic, ignoring the fact that it was Palestinian civl society that called on the world to support them in this way.

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