“We build bridges, not walls”

Posted in BDS on February 1, 2013 by .

As you watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, one commercial in particular should catch your attention.  SodaStream, the world’s largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of home carbonation systems, is set to have a 30 second commercial during the 4th quarter of the game.  SodaStream is a household kitchen gadget that carbonates water into seltzer and sodas, and is produced in Ma’aleh Adumim, the largest illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.  Join all of us in the BDS movement, Jewish Voice for Peace, the US Campaign Against the Israeli Occupation, Code Pink, an amazing coalition of religious leaders, and many others in boycott!

We ask you to join our boycott of SodaStream because it is produced in an illegal Israeli settlement (opposed by U.S. Government policy) and because the products sold support the settlement industry, encouraging Israel to continue the illegal military occupation of Palestinian lands.

Today, illegal settlements, like Ma’aleh Adumim, are protected by walls that take away the right of Palestinians to move freely and deny them access to their jobs and farmland.  As a result of this oppression and its economic impact, many Palestinians (including children as young as 12) must work in the settlements in order to support their families.

In response to criticism, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum defended his company:

“We don’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. I’ve got to laugh when they think we’re on the wrong side of this. We’re part of the solution. We build bridges, not walls.”

However, the “bridge” is not easy to cross.  In order to work in a settlement, a Palestinian must obtain a work permit from the Israeli Civil Administration and pass through multiple checkpoints every day to travel between work and home.  As explained by www.whoprofits.org:

“This permit can be annulled at any time, especially when workers demand their rights or try to unionize, or if they (or one of their family members) engage in any kind of political activity. This situation exposes Palestinian workers to extortion by the Israeli internal security service.”

The very real fear of losing a work permit prevents many Palestinians from even taking the steps to demand legal employment rights.

What can you do?  One way to tell Israel that occupation is not tolerable is to join the BDS movement.  Support the call of Palestinian civil society to boycott this company.  Sign this petition, or follow this link to see ways you can protest SodaStream this weekend as they ramp up their media presence in the United States via the Super Bowl.  CBS banned SodaStream’s original commercial because it directly assaults two big American advertisers, Coke and Pepsi.  Tell SodaStream that you do not support occupation!  SodaStream says: “If you love the bubble, set it free.”  We say “If you love people, set them free!  Don’t buy SodaStream.”  Please visit http://sodastreamboycott.org/ for more information.

 Listen to this report on SodaStream from NPR: NPR Radio 2/4/2013


Resources: http://www.whoprofits.org/content/palestinian-workers-settlements, http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/advertising-sodastream-arresting.html, http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/jewish-voice-for-peace-endorses-boycott-of-sodastream,