SodaStream’s Superbowl ad brings spotlight on Palestine and the Occupation

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments

Superbowl SodaSteam Spoof Ad (VOTE NOW) “Priceless” by John Dworkin

Hoping to maximize publicity surrounding its Superbowl ad, SodaStream released a video previously rejected last week by CBS on the grounds that the ad challenged two other major sponsors: Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The ad went viral, but something else happened along the way: SodaStream, which produces seltzer-makers, is getting attention for operating in the Palestinian Occupied Territory.

AOL’s Daily Finance:

The company’s [SodaStream's] main production facility is located in a West Bank settlement; Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have long been considered illegal under international law, a view recently affirmed by a panel of judges working under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council.

CEO Daniel Birnbaum told the Times of Israel that SodaStream doesn’t “strengthen or support the occupation. What we’re doing is taking a facility in the occupied territory and giving Palestinians a career and economic benefits.”
…..

Whether or not SodaStream supports the occupation, pro-Palestinians activists contend that the converse is certainly true. According to a report by Who Profits?, an Israeli peace group, the company’s “success is based, at least in part, on the structural advantages that production in Israeli settlements enjoys”: “low rent, special tax incentives, lax enforcement of environmental and labor protection laws, as well as additional government support.” And SodaStream pays property taxes that are used to fund “the growth and development” of the settlement that hosts its factory.

………

With the occupation now more than 45 years old, pro-Palestinian activists aren’t persuaded. “Palestinians are not asking for charity,” said Anna Baltzer, national organizer of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “They are calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and companies like SodaStream until they end their complicity with Israel’s discriminatory practices. Thousands around the world have joined the campaign to boycott SodaStream, including an exciting new, diverse coalition of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish organizations.” Baltzer also noted that people in several countries have created spoof ads highlighting SodaStream’s connection to the occupation.

SodaStream has of course known the risks of being a settlement producer. In its 2011 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company described its West Bank factory as a source of “rising political tensions and negative publicity,” which “may negatively impact demand for our products or require us to relocate our manufacturing activities to other locations.” Arguing against relocation: the cost of moving, and the loss of tax benefits.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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9 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    February 3, 2013, 8:46 pm

    So, and nice, but who reads AOL Daily Finance? SuperBowl watchers presumably saw whatever SodaStream wanted them to see, not what we might have wanted them to see. Hope the spoofs can make it to YouTube with a title (or meta text) identifying “Sodastream”.

    Youtube (for “sodastream spoof”) produced one PARODY and another parody.
    Neither very interesting to me.

  2. roguekitteh
    February 4, 2013, 12:27 am

    I almost purchased the SodaStream thing a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like a reasonable deal, but I decided to compare the price with competitors’ prices first. Meanwhile I found out the dirty truth, thank goodness.

  3. mcohen
    February 4, 2013, 5:49 am

    i love this statement

    “In its 2011 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company described its West Bank factory as a source of “rising political tensions and negative publicity,” which “may negatively impact demand for our products or require us to relocate our manufacturing activities to other locations.” Arguing against relocation: the cost of moving, and the loss of tax benefits.”

    and i love this one more from wiki wtf-WAY TO GO BDS
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Production facilities

    SodaStream has 13 production facilities worldwide. Three are located in Israel and the West Bank and employ 1,100 people as of 2012. Sodastream’s principal manufacturing facility is located in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim, this factory employs some 900 Arabs from the Palestinian Authority, who live in an arc stretching from Jericho to Ramallah; the other half of the employees are Arab residents of East Jerusalem. An additional plant, which began operating in 2011, is located in the Alon Tavor industrial zone near the Israeli city of Afula. A third plant, which also began operating in 2011, is located in Ashqelon and is where Sodastream produces syrups and flavors. The cornerstone for a fourth plant was laid at the Idan HaNegev Industrial Park north of Be’er Sheva in 2011.[7][35][36] In 2012, Sodastream said that it will invest NIS 130 million in the construction of the plant, which it said would provide employment opportunities for around 1,000 workers, many of them Negev Bedouin.[37]

    so soda stream employs 900 arabs and this site is encouraging people to boycott that plant

    i say the sooner the better- sodastream should relocate -rather give the jobs to african migrants

    • iResistDe4iAm
      February 4, 2013, 9:44 am

      “so soda stream employs 900 arabs and this site is encouraging people to boycott that plant”

      What’s your point?
      Palestinians are also employed to build illegal Jewish settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
      Are illegal Jewish settlements good for Palestinian rights?
      Was Apartheid in South Africa also good for indigenous rights?

      Palestinian civil society (inspired by their South African counterparts) are the ones calling for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

      • mcohen
        February 4, 2013, 4:04 pm

        iResistDe4iAm

        hey bro can i borrow your name -i post on this pro anti pro israel site and it would shine my bro-+ shiiiiiiine da wiz on dem diddlees

        comparing south africa to israel is never going to work no matter how hard you squeeze that lemon for the simple reason that the romans occupied israel before the greeks who occupied israel before before the turks who occupied israel before the british who occupied israel before moses

      • iResistDe4iAm
        February 5, 2013, 6:14 am

        On the subject of Israeli apartheid, I’ll leave it for some of those who should know — here’s what the architect of the original Apartheid had to say…

        “They took Israel away from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” ~ Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa and architect of South Africa’s Apartheid policies, 1961

        And here’s what the undertaker for the same Apartheid had to say…

        “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” ~ Nelson Mandela, first post-Apartheid President of South Africa, December 1997

    • eljay
      February 4, 2013, 11:41 am

      >> i say the sooner the better- sodastream should relocate -rather give the jobs to african migrants

      Perhaps Sodastream could also relocate to Israel the rest of the supremacist “Jewish State’s” immoral and unjust occupation, rather than give Palestinian land to Zio-supremacists.

    • Inanna
      February 4, 2013, 8:55 pm

      According to Who Profits?, the Israeli group, Sodastream pays Arabs below minimum wages, gives them bad working conditions as well as conditions their employment on security checks (whose criteria includes any type of employment ‘problem’ like asking for higher wages) and keeps their workers in a state of uncertainty about their future employment to ensure that they behave.

      Not only that but Mishor Edumim is built on lands confiscated from surrounding Palestinian villages and private Palestinian lands. The BDS movement began with a call by Palestinian society, which includes labor unions who know that they are being exploited by Israeli firms. I guess Palestinians are prepared to suffer in the short-term in order to struggle for their rights.

  4. Henry Norr
    February 4, 2013, 8:13 pm

    Surprisingly “balanced” coverage of this issue on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning – complete with a bit of audio about anti-SodaStream demonstrators in Boston singing about war crimes!

    link to npr.org

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