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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Sodastream’

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.

SodaStream May Close Maaleh Adumim Factory

Monday, September 1st, 2014

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.

 

George Soros Dumps SodaStream

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Originally posted at Jewish Business News.

Billionaire investor George Soros sold his stake in SodaStream, consisting of 550,000 shares. SodaStream, whose main factory is in the West Bank, is once again in the spotlight, but a spokesman for Soros refused to comment on the reason for the sale.

The timing of the move, giving the raging conflict between Israel an Gazans, led to speculation by Pro-Palestinian news agencies that Soros, either through pressure of conviction, was divesting from SodaStream for political reasons. The Abu Dhabi based publication, The National, reports:

“The decision comes as a group of big international investors, including the fund lined to Microsoft found, Bill Gates, join a burgeoning financial boycott of Israel amid a push by the boycott, divestment and sanction movement (BDS) and other groups seeking more rights for Palestinians.” SodaStream is a major employer of Palestinian Arabs, and provides them with wages equivalent to their Israeli counterparts as well as a mosque on the premises. That hasn’t stopped SodaStream from becoming the target of BDS venom, most notably, the departure of actress Scarlet Johansson from Pro BDS Oxfam over her controversial advertisements for SodaStream.

With talk that Starbucks may purchase SodaStream, there are threats among BDS of massive boycotts of the most prominent coffee company. Omar Barghouti, Palestinian activist and co-founder of the BDS movement told VICE:

“If Starbucks partners with SodaStream, it will face an unprecedented boycott campaign against it in the Arab world, the U.S., and in many other countries …” Barghouti might sound a bit ambitious here (especially since polls show the majority of Americans support the recent military defense by Israel in Gaza) that the typical American is going to give up the morning Frapuccino. However, massive boycotts of Starbucks in Europe because of BDS might make a dent, although the coffee company has been doing as well in China in recent years as it has in Europe. Of course, if BDS drives Starbucks away from Sodastream, it is likely to hurt West Bank Arabs who work for SodaStream at least as much as their Israeli employers.

Who knows if the Pro-Palestinian news sources are correct and if Starbucks will shy away from SodaStream, although BDS hasn’t stopped takeovers of Israeli tech startups. And keep in mind like chain smokers, coffee addicts are not just addicted to the drug, but to the brand. Still, it pays to be cautious about the possible fallout rather than complacent, while keeping in mind that neither George Soros nor a spokesman was willing to comment on the reason for the sale of the SodaStream stake.

Conrad Morris, BDE

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Conrad Morris passed away on Saturday night. Morris, a successful UK businessman, and one of the early investors in Sodastream as well as an investor in Makor Rishon, which, until recently, was run by his son-in-law, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi. conrad morrisHe was one of initiators of the Israel-Britain Chamber of Commerce.

Morris was a major philanthropist, donating to Jewish institutions in England and Israel.

The funeral will be held Sunday morning in Jerusalem, and he will be buried on the Mount of Olives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/conrad-morris-bde/2014/06/15/

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