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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Sodastream’

SodaStream – An Island of Peace

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

BDS actions forced SodaStream to close their factory near Mishor Adumim, resulting in 500 Arabs from Israel’s territories (“Palestinians”) losing their jobs.

That factory moved down to Levahim in the Negev, yet BDS continues to hound SodaStream as an “Occupation” company.

Let’s take a quick look inside SodaStream to learn the truth about SodaStream…

Video of the Day

Roger Waters, Aggressive BDS Advocate, at Haaretz NY Conference

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Roger Waters, former frontman for the 70’s rock band Pink Floyd and current number one international Israel-hater and aggressive advocate for boycotts of all things Israel, showed up at the New York City conference put together by Israeli newspaper Haaretz in coordination with the far-left New Israel Fund. Waters was treated like a…well, a celebrity.

Why Waters would show up at a conference put on by an Israeli newspaper is only confusing if you think of Haaretz as a newspaper which is anything but also aggressively focused, like Waters, on revealing and repeatedly emphasizing the most egregious accusations aimed against Israel.

First, a reminder of how much Waters hates Israel. A constant refrain of his is to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, facts – like Arab members of the Knesset, an Arab member of the Supreme Court – be damned.

In 2012, Waters spoke at the United Nations, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.” That same year he was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and he helped convince Stevie Wonder not to appear at a benefit in Los Angeles for the Friends of the IDF.

Roger Waters assailed actress Scarlett Johansson for working with SodaStream and musician Neil Young for his planned performance in Israel in 2014. In an open letter to Johannson, Waters called her choice to continue representing SodaStream and stepping down as a representative of Oxfam “an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.”

For years Waters has been bullying other celebrities, seeking to intimidate them into canceling any planned visits to Israel. This past fall, Waters went after Jon Bon Jovi who was scheduled to perform with his band in Israel. Bon Jovi snubbed Waters and performed in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Oct. 3. The lead singer even told Israelis, to great applause, they should adopt his song, “We Don’t Run.”

The Haaretz/NIF conference was described in its promotional literature as “an opportunity for our community – those of us who care about Israel and about democratic values – to get together, to ask the hard questions, and to drive our movement forward.”

At the Haartz/New Israel Fund conference, dozens of hard-left Israeli Israel-bashers appeared, alongside such luminaries as Saeb Erekat, perennial spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority, Peter Beinart, an American Jewish pro-BDS advocate, Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the faux pro-Israel J Street, newly-appointed by President Obama ISIS czar Rob Malley, and many, many others who share a goal to publicly humiliate Israel through the pages of such media handmaidens as Haaretz.

Others were also slated as speakers at the conference, such as Israel’s president Ruvi Rivlin and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

But what was Waters doing there? He had on an official name tag, but he wasn’t a speaker (or singer). Maybe he had simply signed up to attend. For this he was  willing to put aside his hatred and refusal to be associated with, or allow anyone else to be associated with, anything Israeli, if the Israeli item is just as virulently anti-Israel as is he.

Haaretz writer and U.S. editor Chemi Shalev was apparently thrilled to be shown in a picture with Israel-hater Waters. He tweeted a picture of the two of them with the (untrue) caption, “Boycott/shmoycott, no Pink Floyd addict can resist the thrill of meeting Roger Waters at #HaaretzQ.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

SodaStream to Absorb 1,000 Syrian Refugees in Bedouin City Plant

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) SodaStream continues to fight to improve its public image in Arab communities around the world and so last Friday it unveiled a joint plan, together with Talal Al-Krenawi, mayor of the Bedouin city of Rahat in the south of Israel, to offer immediate asylum to refugees from Syria, pending Israeli authorities’ approval. SodaStream and Rahat say they can effectively absorb 1,000 individuals, or up to 200 families, and provide them with an opportunity to build a new life in Israel.

With 55,000 residents, Rahat is the largest Bedouin city in the world. Currently, 30 percent of the 1,100 workers in SodaStream’s nearby factory are residents of Rahat. “We enjoy a progressive, urban lifestyle in Rahat; however, we haven’t abandoned our culture and our tribal traditions,” said Mayor Al-Krenawi. “Human dignity and hospitality are core values in our culture and we will not allow indifference to the suffering of others. In this first stage, we will be able to receive 1,000 refugees, and then through ongoing collaboration with SodaStream, we plan to help more. Our hope is that the government will then support our joint effort.”

The victim of an anti-Israel boycott campaign, SodaStream announced earlier in 2015 that its factory in Maale Adumim, in Judea, would be closed by the end of 2016 and its operations transferred to the new factory in Lehavim, 15 km north of Be’er Sheva. The relocation announcement was declared a success by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which said it would nevertheless continue its worldwide efforts to boycott SodaStream, even though Lehavim is inside the pre-1967 borders. PACBI argued that the new factory would be located on lands that were “stolen” from Rahat, which means SodaStream is still part of “Israel’s displacement policies.”

Daniel Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer of SodaStream, said that “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria,” said Birnbaum. “Just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees.”

JNi.Media

Orange to Pay ‘Partner’ $50 million for Studying Damage from BDS Fiasco

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The French-based Orange telecom company has agreed to pay Israeli-based Partner Communications $45 million for a study of damage caused by the fiasco two months ago caused by Orange CEO’s comments that he would like to get rid of Partner.

The agreement also allows Orange to terminate the Brand Licensing Agreement during a one-year period if Partner does not cut off ties first in the 12 months beforehand. If Partner exercises its right to end the connection, it will cost the company an additional $56 million.

The funding for the study also covers expenses Partner incurred to deal with the fallout from Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s remarks in Cairo, where he said:

Believe me I would cancel the contract tomorrow if I could… I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt … We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.

Previous protests by the BDS movement have tried to pressure Orange to cut its ties with Israel. There always is the possibility that a company is faking reasons its pull out of Israel or Judea and Samaria. BDS charges Partner with the sin of erecting approximately 100 antennas on “Palestinian land.”

Everyone has jumped to conclusions that Richard was succumbing to BDS, and even the new agreement has been met with suspicions that Orange simply is trying to diplomatically cooperate with BDS under the cover of deal that seems to be “strictly business.”

It delights the media, left-wing and right-wing alike, to celebrate or bemoan a BDS victory, but sometimes it is poppycock.

Richard, despite his remarks that obviously pander to Arabs, has claimed there is a legitimate business reason for wanting to end the arrangement with Partner. Israel is the only country in the world where a local company uses the Orange brand but is not part of the French conglomerate. Partner reportedly simply pays Orange approximately $4 million for the right use the Orange name. It is a tiny sum for the French conglomerate.

The new agreement and funding by Orange gives the Partner to examine how much damage, if any, was caused by the blow-up following Richard’s remarks and what would be involved in trying to come up with a brand name instead of Orange.

Richard’s comments provoked so much excitement that Richard even flew into Israel, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed his love for Israel and said he opposed boycotts.

The fact is that Orange is invested in Israel and operates a technological hothouse.

In addition, Partner told The JewishPress.com that when the Israel firm started its own innovations laboratory two years ago, Orange asked to participate. it was rejected because the Partner investment recruited people to participate but did not take any outside funding. However, the Orange’s interest spurred it to start up its own independent research lab.

Despite the plain wording of today’s press release in the new Partner-Orange arrangement, several media outlets mis-reported that “Orange, Partner Communications sign deal to end brand agreement” (Indian Times”) and that “Orange to end license deal with Partners Comms.” (CBS Marketwatch).

Unless the whole arrangement is an expensive ruse to bury BDS, which is quite fanciful, BDS can crawl back into its hole.

This is not the first time a company has moved operations due to business considerations but allegedly because of BDS.

SodaStream pulled out of Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, this year after completion of its new and more modern factory in the Negev, five minutes from the new extension of the high-speed Highway 6 (Kvish) highway that makes it a lot closer to Ben Gurion Airport.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

French NGOs and Palestinian Authority behind BDS Pressure on Orange

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A coalition of French NGOs, some of them partly funded by the government, last month published a 51-page document named “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to spearhead the campaign to pressure Orange to boycott Israel’s Partner Communications, which markets the Orange mobile phone service brand.

The Palestinian Authority joined the French NGOS to lobby the government and Orange to boycott Israel, the Israel-based NGO Monitor reported.

The NGOs reportedly met with Orphanage officials on May 26 and told them that its business link with Partner endangered its reputation. Orange told the BDS promoters that the agreement for Partner’s marketing the Orange brand expires in 10 years.

NGO Monitor reported:

The authors of the report asked Orange to publicly and explicitly state its decision to disengage and to denounce the human rights violations that Partner is involved in  Israeli settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories-sic]. In other words, the statements made by the France-based company are a wholesale adoption of the NGOs’ BDS agenda (which is illegal in France).

Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.

Organizations participating in the move to pressure Orange to boycott Israel include the European-based Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Who Profits, which now is a separate organization, began to campaign against all of Israel’s cell phone companies in 2009 for allegedly being “commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights” and “exploit[ing] the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.”

The Who Profits webpage also attacks Partner for sponsoring IDF units in the Golan, Judea and Samaria in the “Adopt a Soldier” project.

The 51-page document stated:

During the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Partner was on the front lines providing material support, cellular services and entertainment to the Israeli soldiers. The company also waived service fees for soldiers carrying [sic] the assault during July-August 2014.

The French government, which owns 25 percent of Orange, granted the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire received nearly $400,000 from France in 2012. The same organization is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,

FIDH last year libeled Israel with allegations that it deliberately targeted civilians in the war against Hamas rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians. The NGO is funded in part by the European Union and the governments of Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

NGO Monitor added, “Al Haq is funded directly by the governments of Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, and indirectly by UK, Sweden, Germany, and the UN.”

Its report continued:

Al Haq is a leader of lawfare and BDS against Israel. A main actor in the NGO campaign to file war crimes charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC)….

Al Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by ‘flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.’

The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as ‘among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.’

The Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) was funded by the French government in 2012, refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”

A French court in 2014 ruled in favor of the French distributor of Israel-based SodaStream in a lawsuit charging the pro-BDS group with stating that SodaStream products were being illegally sold in France.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

For NYC Israel Day Parade, BDS Banned Only in Words

Friday, February 13th, 2015

This year New York’s annual parade to celebrate Israel will, despite blatant efforts by New York Jewish “leadership” to fool those concerned, once again include groups supporting economic sanctions against Israel.

You see, the New York Jewish leadership apparently thinks boycotting some Jews in Israel is acceptable, so long as their companies are located beyond where the Palestinian Authority wants them.

For all pro-Israel Jews, Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people, but for most American Jews, New York City is the undisputed Diaspora capital of the Jewish people.

That’s at least one good reason why battle lines were drawn over who and what should be permitted to march in New York City’s Annual Israel Day Parade (it’s officially known as the Celebrate Israel Parade, but people who have marched in or watched it for years and years still automatically call it the Israel Day Parade).

There has been an extremely vocal group of pro-Israel advocates desperately trying to ensure that the people who march in the Israel Day Parade  are actually pro-Israel in deed, and not just in slogan. They haven’t set the bar high – just high enough to keep out those whose actions seek to harm Israel, or those who fund those who do – from participating,

That band of warriors has been led by Richard Allen, a New York City businessman and founder of JCC Watch.

The primary target of the “keep the Celebrate Israel Parade pro-Israel” coalition has been groups, such as the New Israel Fund, which financially supports organizations which advocate economic warfare against Israel, and Partners for a Progressive Israel, which itself proudly advocates boycotting such iconic Israeli companies as SodaStream and Ahava.

In January, when the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York released its 2015 registration packet for the parade, people like Richard Allen and others in the coalition to keep the Israel Day Parade pro-Israel initially rejoiced.

But only momentarily.

The 2015 Marching Group Rules contained in the packet states clearly that all groups participating must identify with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and the homeland of the Jewish People.

The third rule states clearly that BDS groups may not participate. It states:

“All Groups must oppose, not fund, nor advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel by not recognizing it as a Jewish state.”

Just below that rule, the packet links to further information. Unfortunately, neither of the links work, and only one could be found on the web. That one did not provide any further enlightenment than did the ostensibly clear rule.

When The Jewish Press contacted the JCRC of NY, Michael Mittleman, director of  the “Celebrate Israel” department, refused to explain what was meant by barring groups from participating in the parade if they do “not fund, nor advocate for” BDS.

Mittleman would only say that the JCRC had a statement it had released, which he promised to forward, on the topic and it was the last word he or any of them would say about the topic.

The conversation went from cordial to less so, as the reporter attempted to get Mittleman to expand on any specifics. The reporter asked, point blank, whether groups which advocate boycotts of such companies as SodaStream and Ahava would be permitted to march in the parade.

Mittleman would not answer other than say the only information the JCRC would provide on the topic was in the statement which he would forward.

Uh oh.

The “Celebrate Israel” director acknowledged, when pressed, that a decision about whether a specific group would be permitted or wouldn’t be permitted to march would have to be made, but he simply would not state what criterion would be used, beyond what was already in the 2015 parade rules and what was in the statement he promised to forward.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Harvard Will Investigate, But Will it Reverse SodaStream Boycott?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The provost of Harvard University, with the backing of the university’s president, announced there will be an investigation of the decision made by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to boycott an Israeli company.

While this latest decision is welcome, the language of the university’s statement left room for the university to “investigate” and to redistribute a policy that should have prevented the boycott decision, but to do nothing more.

As explained in yesterday’s Jewish Press article, “Harvard Boycotts SodaStream (Despite Company’s Surrender)” some Harvard students complained about the presence of the Israeli company’s SodaStream machines in some Harvard university dining halls. The presence of those machines “might offend” Palestinian Arab students.

SodaStream’s main factory is located less than five miles from Jerusalem. It employs approximately 900 Arabs, but opponents of Israel prefer to force actions that will deprive those 900 Arabs of the best chance they have of making a decent salary in order to “punish” the Jewish State. SodaStream has already announced it is moving the factory away from the Arabs. Despite that capitulation, the Harvard students continue to support a boycott of SodaStream by the university.

After a few meetings with various administration officials and students, the managing director of HUDS, in consultation with the Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, made the decision to remove the SodaStream label from the machines, sever the business relationship with SodaStream, and switch to different providers.

A Jewish student who is a member of two anti-Israel Jewish organizations, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Open Hillel, attended the SodaStream boycott meetings.  Rachel Sandalow-Ash gleefully commented for the Crimson on the boycott decision. She noted some students were disappointed that HUDS declined to issue a statement announcing its boycott decision, but she was glad the university “was receptive.”

The obsequious behavior by the administration (imagine removing the name of a company because some students simply could not bear to be in the same building with a machine bearing the name of an Israeli company!) may, it turns out, have violated Harvard policy.

Provost Alan M. Garber issued a statement about the matter. Garber wrote that he and Harvard University’s president Drew Faust only learned of the SodaStream issue on Tuesday. He informed the community that President Faust:

asked staff to get to the bottom of how these conversations started and to learn more about where matters currently stand. Regardless, Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy. If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.

So the university policy of not allowing procurement decisions to be driven by politics will be made known, presumably, to all with procurement responsibilities. That part is clear.

Decisions “should not” be made exactly the way the SodaStream boycott decision was made, according to those involved and as reported by the school’s newspaper.

But will the boycott decision be revoked and harvard’s business relationship with SodaStream revert to its pre-April status? Garber’s statement elides that point.

We’re still waiting for the answer to that question, which The Jewish Press posed to a Harvard spokesperson earlier today.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/harvard-will-investigate-but-will-it-reverse-sodastream-boycott/2014/12/18/

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