Facing calls for its international boycott, as well as dropping revenues and share prices, SodaStream is closing its operation in the occupied Palestinian territory in October and moving to a new, larger facility in the Negev desert in Israel.
Leaders of the movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanction claim SodaStream’s withdrawal for the occupied West Bank just to the east of Jerusalem was a big victory for their cause.
Although many Palestinians will soon be looking for new work, the BDS said it was worth the price.
The BDS says Israel should not be able to exploit its West Bank occupation by having facilities operating on Palestinian land.
The CEO at SodaStream, Daniel Birnbaum said the shuttering of the factory in the West Bank did not have anything to do with the current boycott campaign against the company or its brand ambassador Scarlet Johansson the actress, who performed last year in an ad during the Super Bowl for
Instead, the SodaStream CEO accused BDS critics of robbing the Palestinian working class of well paid jobs.
He called it propaganda, politics, hate and anti-Semitism.
Birnbaum called the company factory a peaceful island in the Middle East, where Druze, Christians Muslims and Jews make machines for home carbonization that cost $79 retail. Activists from BDS said it was apartheid.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to spend more than $25 million to combat the efforts of BDS. At a June conference, hosted by Sheldon Adelson the GOP mega-donor casino magnate, over $50 million was pledged for campaigns against BDS by wealthy Jews living in the U.S.
Officials in Israel insist that the BDS has not been hurtful to the economy, yet.
A report by Haaretz a newspaper in Israel last month said that military intelligence in Israel were tasked with tracking groups affiliated with BDS abroad just the way they would if they had been terrorist organizations.