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November 4, 2014 12:26 pm

Is SodaStream Closure of West Bank Factory a BDS Victory?

avatar by Alex Margolin

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A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel in Melbourne, Australia, on June 5, 2010. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

Even though SodaStream’s decision to close its controversial West Bank factory appears to be motivated primarily by financial considerations, not pressure from the BDS movement, it’s hard to discount the BDS campaign entirely.

SodaStream has been one of the most visible BDS targets during the past year, especially after the company tapped one of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, Scarlett Johansson, to serve as its celebrity ambassador.

But will the BDS bullies move on once SodaStream moves to Israel’s side of the Green Line? The early indication is that the campaign against the company will continue.

In a statement that first appeared in The Guardian, BDS spokesperson Rafeef Ziadah indicated that the movement was not impressed by the company’s new location either:

Even if this announced closure goes ahead, SodaStream will remain implicated in the displacement of Palestinians. Its new Lehavim factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Naqab [Negev] desert, where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will. Sodastream, as a beneficiary of this plan, is complicit with this violation of human rights.

Never mind the fact that the Israeli investment in the Negev means more job opportunities for Bedouins living in the area. And lets ignore the lost Palestinian jobs that might result from the West Bank factory’s closure – SodaStream said it was planning to seek work permits for its Palestinian workers at the new plant, but this isn’t guaranteed.

The under-reported story here is that BDS has no intention of stopping, even when its demands are met. It is yet more proof that the BDS is a radical movement aiming for Israel’s destruction, not a change to Israel’s policies in the West Bank.

And the media has been at least partially complicit in the movement’s growth in influence, often by glossing over the more extreme elements of the movement’s position. The New York TImes, for example, ran a story about the SodaStream move and included part of Ziadah’s statement, but not the part stating that “SodaStream will remain implicated…”

The only question is how far BDS supporters will follow the movement down the destructive rabbit hole. According to the Wall Street Journal, the BDS campaign against SodaStream was actually picking up momentum:

Online calls to boycott the company’s products have more than doubled since 2013 and represented 29% of SodaStream’s brand conversations on the Internet between July and October, up from 10% a year ago, according to Networked Insights, a social-media analytics firm.

Will BDS supporters want to keep up the pressure if they believe their campaign has yielded results, or will they declare victory and move on to another target? Time will tell. But the BDS movement has, once again, revealed its true nature as an obstacle to peace in the region.

This article was originally published by HonestReporting.

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