Activists Welcome SodaStream Decision to Shut Down Settlement Factory
Contact Ramah Kudaimi at 202-332-0994 or email@example.com.
Washington, DC-- Palestinian rights activists are welcoming today's announcement by SodaStream that it will be relocating its factory currently based in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
SodaStream, which manufactures home carbonating devices, has been the target of boycott campaigns worldwide due to the location of its main production site in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Zone and concealing the fact that its products are manufactured in a settlement by using "Made in Israel" labels.
The company has also come under fire for exploiting Palestinian land, resources, and labor, paying its Palestinian workers far less than their Israeli counterparts. In July the company fired 60 of its Palestinian workers over a Ramadan meal dispute.
"We have witnessed a tremendous growth in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts this year to pressure Israel to ends its denial of Palestinian rights. Today's news is just the latest sign that these global BDS campaigns are having an impact on changing the behavior of companies that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid," said Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 400 groups.
SodaStream's settlement factory has been the cause of much controversy for the company. At the start of 2014, SodaStream announced it had hired Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson as its spokesperson. Following an international campaign urging Oxfam International to end its relationship with Johansson for endorsing SodaStream, the actress decided to resign from her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. In August 2014, the Soros Fund Management dropped its shares in the company, worth $24.3 million.
Since the beginning of the year, SodaStream's stocks have been dropping in price. After reaching a high of $64 per share in October 2013, the stock fell to around $20 per share this month. SodaStream has estimated its third quarter revenue will be $125 million, down almost 14 percent from the same period last year.
"SodaStream's case should set an example for all companies complicit in Israel's violations of international law and human rights. People worldwide are no longer accepting business as usual and BDS campaigns will continue until there is freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians," Kudaimi said.
Despite this decision, SodaStream will remain a target of boycott efforts. Its new Lehavim factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Negev desert where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will thus still implicating the company in Israel's displacement policies.