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October 29, 2014 7:11 pm

SodaStream to Close Oft-Targeted West Bank Plant

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Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

JNS.orgThe beverage carbonation company SodaStream has decided to close its West Bank plant in Ma’ale Adumim. The plant’s location has made it a frequent target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel—particularly leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl, when it ran a TV advertisement featuring Jewish-American actress Scarlett Johansson.

SodaStream plans to relocate its plant to northern Israel by late 2015. Despite ongoing pressure from BDS activists, a spokeswoman for SodaStream told Bloomberg News that the decision to move the plant was “purely commercial” and part of the company’s “global growth plan.”

This year, the West Bank plant employed 500 Palestinians and 450 Israeli Arabs, along with 350 Israeli Jews. Johansson had drawn criticism from the U.K.-based charity Oxfam International for serving as a pitchwoman for SodaStream, leading her to quit her role as a global ambassador for Oxfam.

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“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” Johansson said at the time. “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

In February, SodaStream Chief Executive Officer Daniel Birnbaum said the company is “not a settlement, we’re a factory… We do not sustain the settlement economy, we sustain the Palestinian and Israeli economies, so shutting this factory down will have no benefit to the Palestinian people or the peace process.”

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  • Vivarto

    Why should a Jewish business support Arab occupiers of our land?
    It should be against the law to employ any Muhammedan in an Israeli business.
    We want the Muhammedan occupiers of our land gone!

  • I drive by the new Soda Stream plant on highway 6 every week and am a stock holder in the company. It’s sad that Europe, to spite its face, has cut off its nose in causing the loss of hundreds of jobs for the Palestians to be lose. In opposing Israel, Europe has caused the loss of tens of thousands of Palestinian jobs in the West Bank.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Oxfam had done the wrong thing: As a supporter I had email twice and had called but had not received any replay they just ignored and after a vile was I thing some apology from them on web site? They receive most of the found from state! I stop my support for them. That soda stream is moving out from the west bank is a loss from the many worker and the resident. BDS support from EU is a shame.

  • BARBARA SHABO

    Bravo for Scarlett Johansson. Her beauty and talent are more than matched by her courage and integrity.

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