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July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sodastream’

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.

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.

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.

 

Harvard Boycotts SodaStream (Despite Company’s Surrender)

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Earlier this month there was a corporate-sponsored event at Harvard University which included a panel advocating the virtues of the BDS Movement (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel). Now we now learn of a recent decision by the Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to suspend its contract with the Israeli carbonated water machine company SodaStream.

This boycott of the Israeli company was described in an article in Harvard’s school newspaper, The Crimson: “HUDS Suspends Purchases from Israeli Soda Company.” It is sure to ignite the ire of any who believe the last thing a university dining service should get involved in is international disputes, let alone those who will be outraged that any part of Harvard University is boycotting an Israeli company.

That decision by some in the Harvard administration should give pause to the parents of the 6,400 students in each class who will be spending a total of approximately $240,000 to attend the college for four years, while the university condones and participates in a movement to financially strangle a company simply because it is based in the Jewish State.

SodaStream, you may recall, was targeted by the BDS movement because its main factory was located less than five miles from Jerusalem, in the town of Maale Adumim. This town is across what Israel-haters support as an Apartheid Line (the “Green Line”) beyond which no Jews should live, breathe, work or employ Arabs, the BDS crowd actively sought to boycott the company.

Put aside the fact – which is mentioned in the Crimson article – that SodaStream already surrendered to the hatred and will move its operation to an area in which it is still largely deemed acceptable for Jews to own property (ironically this move means the loss for many if not all of the company’s 900 non-Israeli Arab workers of their highest possible paying employment). Yes, put aside that fact. That is what Harvard did when it chose to boycott SodaStream because, in the words of one of the students involved: “the machines and their association with the disputed territory could be offensive to Palestinian students.”

That student, Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of Harvard University’s Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Open Hillel movement, explained why she believed the Harvard University Dining Services had to remove the Israeli company’s machines:

I think it is neither anti-Israel of anti-Semite [sic] to take [a] stand against the occupation. These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights.

In other words, no matter what Israel does, even caving to the demands of the haters will have no impact on the strength of the protest.

Such a position might move one to refrain from taking any action to accommodate the pain of others, mightn’t it?

In addition to Sandalow-Ash, whom the Crimson identified as present at the meetings preceding Harvard’s decision to boycott Sodastream, also present were representatives from HUDS, Lowell House Masters Diana L. Eck and Dorothy A. Austin, Mather House Co-Master Michael Rosengarten and Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde.

Following the discussions, according to the Crimson article, the Harvard Dining Services “agreed” to remove SodaStream labels on the machines they already have and to purchase machines from other companies in the future.

Repeated efforts to obtain input from David Davidson, managing director of Harvard University Dining Services, Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, Harvard University president Drew Faust and Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow were unsuccessful, as were attempts to obtain a response from rabbis at Harvard’s Hillel.

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

SodaStream Bubbling with Pepsi Pairing Trial

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

SodaStream’s stock price bubbled up, after fizzing out for a while, when they announced they will be doing a 10 week trial with Pepsi.

Both Pepsi and Coke are exploring the DIY soda market, made popular by SodaStream.

Pepsi’s trial run with SodaStream gives Pepsi a chance to beat Coke in the market.

The tests will take place in Florida.

Scarlett Johansson Gives Birth to Baby Girl

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Actress and SodaStream representative, Scarlett Johansson is now the mother of baby girl, named Rose. Her fiance, the father, is French journalist Romain Dauriac.

Let’s raise a cup of Sodastream (pick a flavor) to them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/scarlett-johansson-gives-birth-to-baby-girl/2014/09/05/

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