BDS Italiia: Occupation isn't green

BDS Italiia: Occupation isn’t green

The Cannes Film festival opens this week in France from May 15 – 26th showcasing the year’s greatest films and the glitterati associated with them.

At the festival the American Pavillion (AmPav) serves as the center of activity for the American film community so it was with some dismay that we learned that the premier sponsor of the pavilion is none other than Sodastream.

The company sells itself as a progressive, green company that fits in well with the creative forward thinking crowd that will be gathering at the film festival.

“No cans at Cannes’, it says.  But SodaStream is not socially responsible. Its main production site is in Mishor Edomim, a settlement and industrial zone in the occupied West Bank, on confiscated Palestinian land.

The company claims that the land ownership is “disputed” but the UN, the International Court of Justice, the EU court and US foreign policy all agree that the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.

The company claims that Palestinian workers enjoy equal rights and that this is actually a community development project for Palestinians – yet the workers there cannot organize or vote in their own community. They cannot travel on the road leading to the factory without a special permit provided arbitrarily by a foreign army and they have no other opportunities to work elsewhere because the occupation does not allow travel or any local Palestinian–owned development?

Yes, SodaStream has to pay Palestinian workers minimum wages;  this is enforced by Israeli military law,but Israeli workers have more protections and benefits than their Palestinian co-workers, including health coverage, union membership and social security.

The Municipal taxes paid by Sodastream to Ma’aleh Edomim are destined exclusively for the settlement’s growth and development not for any Palestinian community development.

Occupation isn’t green and it isn’t progressive.  A YouTube video recalls the U.S. creative community’s history of standing up for social justice issues.

An interfaith coalition calls on the industry professionals attending Cannes to boycott the Sodastream bar at AmPav and the general public to call on retailers to remove SodaStream products from their stores.

You’re not going to Cannes?  You can still do something….


Sodastream-adBefore Super Bowl Sunday, buzz on the street was that the at-home carbonation product Sodastream super bowl ad was to be pulled from airing by CBS because it was too disparaging towards Sodastream rivals Coca Cola and Pepsi, two of CBS’ biggest sponsors.

Banning an ad for criticizing the competition? Sounds counter-intuitive to our economy’s free-market approach which thrives on business competition. That’s why some advertising industry professionals are up in arms about the Sodastream ad being pulled; the media’s role is not to choose sides.

But as we’ve all seen time and again, the media is far from unbiased.

Global Exchange says there is reason to be critical of Sodastream, but not because of the company’s marketing. Here’s why:
There is one very solid reason to pull Sodastream ads, and it has nothing to do with market competition. The Sodastream company is housed in an illegal Israeli settlement on the West Bank. As Rae Abileah, co-director of Code Pink and co-founder of the organization Young Jewish and Proud explained in a recent article about Sodastream, “by manufacturing in occupied territory, they’re violating international law and human rights.”

Super Bowl XLVII has come and gone and Sodastream ended up modifying its ad which did run during the Super Bowl. During the December holidays the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeted retailers to stop selling Sodastream products which attracted mainstream media attention surrounding its manufacturing violations in the West Bank. The boycott continues.

Hmm, perhaps raising the company’s visibility via a Super Bowl ad was not such a great idea after all.

Take-ActionTAKE ACTION! Tell your local retailer to stop carrying SodaStream. You can find a store near you using Sodastream’s online tool.

One of the season’s most popular gift items this year is a do-it-yourself soda machine made by SodaStream which carbonates water at home.

But don’t do it!

People who care about human rights should know that the product is made in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land in violation of international law!

Stores selling SodaStream include:  Bed, Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, COSTCO, Crate & Barrel, JC Penney, Kohls, Macy’s, Sears, Staples, Sur La Table, Target, Walmart, Williams-Sonoma.

Black Friday Demonstrations against SodaStream

Ask your friends, family, colleagues, etc. to avoid SodaStream and to take the actions listed below.

  • Sign this petition asking stores to stop selling SodaStream.
  • Speak to the Store Manager: If you see SodaStream on sale, speak to the store manager and fill out a comment card asking the store to stop selling it. You can also contact store CEOs directly.
  • Take it back: If you know of anyone who has unfortunately made this purchase, ask them to return SodaStream to the store. The more conversations we can have about the illegal settlement production the better.
  • SkyMall: If you are flying anywhere this holiday season, check out the SkyMall catalogue and write your comment directly on the Soda Stream ad.
  • Go holiday caroling: See a list of songs to sing during your ‘Boycott SodaStream’ holiday caroling rounds.
  • List of actions and more: Visit Global Exchange’s SodaStream action page for more tips on how to get involved with the campaign.

Best wishes for an active holiday season from all of us at Global Exchange.

It’s been a year since we sent out our Five Way (you haven’t thought of) to Fair Trade your Holiday and what a year it is has been!

This year Global Exchange Fair Trade purchases helped install a water treatment plant in India to filter 2,000 liters of water each hour. We created a new month of activities for Halloween and Fair Trade month, delivered kid’s Valentines to the Board of the Hershey’s company, made delicious Fair Trade S’mores in the summer and had a significant victory when Hershey’s agreed to go 100% certified by 2020.

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock, express our gratitude and prepare to meet the new year with renewed energy to make Trade Fair! Here are a few of our suggestions for this year.

  1. Buy less stuff: Our good friends over at The Story of Stuff (and winner of the Global Exchange 2012 Human Rights Award) encourage us to choose family over frenzy this holiday season and to think carefully about the full life span of the products we consume. Where does your gift come from? Who made it and where will it go when we don’t want it any more? A gift of time and love doesn’t have to clog our landfills and exploit labor to be meaningful.
  2. Shop Fair Trade: When you shop Fair Trade you set an example of responsible consumption rooted in the celebration of craftsmanship; the enforcement of workers rights; and the empowerment of artisans and their communities around the world. You get quality, beauty and tradition in one-of- a -kind, hand-made products. From gemstone earrings set in hand-etched sterling silver in Bali, to messenger bags hand-cut from the inter tube of big rig truck tires in El Salvador, and 100% cotton table linens block-printed in India, there are many beautiful and functional gifts. At the origin of each piece, is a story of preserving culture, supporting community and sustaining the planet.
  3. Don’t buy SodaStream: One of the most popular gifts this season is the do-it-yourself soda machine made by SodaStream which carbonates water at home. But don’t do it! People who care about human rights should know that the product is made in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land in violation of international law!
  4. Give the Gift of Membership: A great way to give a gift that doesn’t take up space but keeps on growing is to give a Global Exchange membership. When you do that you’re connecting someone you care about with an international movement to build a better world.
  5. Be Generous: Times are still hard for many people who are struggling to recover from storms, from the economic downturn and from personal trials. If you can afford it, give as much as you can to those who are making things better and if you don’t have a lot of money, share your smiles, time, songs and encouraging words.

What are your Fair Trade Holiday ideas? Tell us in the comments.

Have a Happy and Fair Trade Holidays!

Who doesn’t love an ice cold glass of soda on a hot summer day? But SodaStream’s soda water isn’t so cool….

SodaStream, an Israeli company producing a do-it-yourself, counter-top seltzer and soda maker, has been marketing its ware as a “green alternative” to soda cans and bottles. But buyer beware: SodaStream’s main production site is in Mishor Edomim, a settlement and industrial zone in the occupied West Bank, on confiscated Palestinian land. The company exploits Palestinian labor and sells it’s product with a “Made in Israel” label.

During the last two years, SodaStream has expanded it’s market into the US, listed on NASDAQ, and started an aggressive marketing campaign in partnership with its US distributors, which include Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s. SodaStream, and other companies which produce in the settlement, takes advantage of Israel’s mandated advantages in the occupied territory, such as tax incentives, governmental support and lax enforcement of regulation.

In a recent interview, the company’s CEO, Daniel Birnbaum claimed that the company is experiencing unprecedented growth and they don’t expect any problems in the US with the kinds of boycotts they’ve been encountering in Europe. In Sweden and in Germany – their representative, Brita, was selling SodaStream under the label “Made in Israel” and the European Court has ruled that was illegal. (Article in Hebrew, read with Google Translate)

Let’s prove them wrong. Consumers in the US don’t want illegal products either!

This weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the company, making no mention of the fact that these appliances are made in an illegal Israeli settlement.

Please help fill out the “comment section” of the SF Chronicle article to let SodaStream know that the US does not support illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and we don’t want to drink the water made possible by the labor of exploited Palestinian workers.

Click here to read and post a comment about the article!

Do you want more information? Earlier this year Who Profits? released a report on SodaStream’s operations.

Global Exchange’s Economic Activism for Palestine program also has more information about SodaStream and ways to take action. Check it out and help support our Economic Activism for Palestine by making a donation now.

This following post by Dalit Baum was originally sent to the Economic Activism for Palestine e-mail list. Be the first to receive urgent action items by signing up for our e-mail lists.

By Dalit Baum
Director, Economic Activism for Palestine

This Wednesday, March 30th, is Palestinian Land Day. Land Day commemorates the 1976 general strike of Palestinians within Israel against mass expropriation of their land by the state. Six unarmed protesters were killed on that day, but hundreds more have been killed since in demonstrations and protests against the on-going confiscations of Palestinian land.

We choose to bring to your attention today an Israeli product, SodaStream, now being aggressively introduced into the U.S. market. The SodaStream company is an Occupation profiteer located in an illegal settlement and directly benefitting from one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

SodaStream produces home beverage carbonating devices, labeled as “Made in Israel,” whereas in fact, these devices are made in an illegal industrial zone called Mishor Edomim, on a vast area between Jerusalem and Jericho in the West Bank expropriated from its original Palestinian owners in the 70’s to prevent a future contiguous Palestinian state. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that SodaStream devices are not “Made in Israel,” as asserted, since they are produced in an illegal settlement, and therefore they cannot benefit from the EU trade agreements with the State of Israel.

SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Outside official state borders, Israeli companies operating in the West Bank enjoy cheap land and water, both confiscated from the indigenous Palestinian owners; a captive Palestinian labor force, under severe restrictions of movement and organization; large tax incentives; and lax regulation of environmental and labor protection laws.

A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices. The photo on the left shows SodaStream’s Factory in Mishor Edomim Settlement. (photo credit: Esti Tsal, WhoProfits)

SodaStream is currently facing a growing boycott campaign in Europe and, as can be seen from its own SEC reports, the company is weighing the relative costs of international consumer boycotts and negative publicity against the economic benefits of manufacturing in a settlement industrial zone. It is time to raise the cost of occupation and exploitation.

This Land Day, we are asking one chain store, Bed Bath and Beyond, to stop selling SodaStream, as well as Ahava and all other settlement products.

Take 30 seconds now to sign our petition to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Global Exchange along with our partners in CODEPINK will deliver your signature to stores around the country and fax the letter and signatures to their corporate headquarters on Wednesday, The Palestinian Land Day.

Thank you for standing in solidarity and taking action to bring justice in Palestine through corporate accountability.