The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is considering closing its factory in Maaleh Adumim when its spanking new plant north of Be’er Sheva begins operation next year.
CEO Daniel Birnbaum told the Israeli economic publication The Marker that the company, which makes home soft drink machines, will make a decision in the next two months.
Birnbaum said the decision would be based solely on economics.
“The considerations will be purely financial, and do not include the European boycott on manufacturing in the territories,” he told the Marker. “Nor will they include the various calls to boycott products of the company because of its location in Maaleh Adumim. The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage. We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionists.”
Birnbaum is not throwing a spin on a possible move out of Maaleh Adumim. The Negev plant is being built almost adjacent to a new interchange of Israel’s high-speed north-south Kvish 6 highway. The new location places SodaStream within an hour from Ben Gurion Airport.
The company could consolidate its operations in whole or in part from the Maaleh Adumim plant. SodaStream also has plants in Ashkelon, the Galilee and 20 others around the world.
It already fired between 100 and 200 workers at the Maaleh Adumim plant, where most of its 1,100 employees are Arabs from Israel and Judea and Samaria.
The plant in the Negev will employ a considerable number of Bedouin.
The company was in the news following the signing of actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman and the ensuing controversy over its West Bank factory. Johansson resigned as a global ambassador for Oxfam over her position with SodaStream.