Over the past 40 years or so, Palestinian businesses that have cooperated with their Israeli counterparts have thrived, creating a class of Arab millionaires who have much more to expect from an alliance with Israel than with living under the PLO thugs of Ramallah. Likewise, working class men are eager to find employment in Israel, regardless of borders. To them, every time either Hamas or the Muqata heats up the violence, it means going without a paycheck.
The Left has no answer to that. Instead it targets both sources of prosperity in Palestinian society: Israeli businesses and the burgeoning Palestinian middle class.
It’s interesting to note that of the entire work force at SodaStream, Stephanie Westbrook, writing for the Electronic Intifada (SodaStream “treats us like slaves,” says Palestinian factory worker), has managed to dig up only one employee with bad things to say against the seltzer maker. He is presented only as M., suggesting, of course, that he would lose his job as soon as his bosses found out he blew the whistle on them.
But even if this M. exists, the complaints he brings up seem very tame. Only Jews get to manage the place, while Palestinians have to do all the heavy lifting. OK, I’m sure the picture is not quite this black and white, and there are probably Palestinians in management – but even if he’s right, and it’s not nice to run one’s business this way – where are the lawsuits?
Israeli NGOs are available to the entire Arab population of the PA to assist them in suing any Israeli who mistreated them, real or imagined. In many cases the Arabs in question don’t even know they have a case before the NGO rep, paid by European donors, informs him so. So why aren’t the Israeli courts full of discriminating suits against SodaStream?
M. also talked of discriminatory hiring practices, explaining that “most Israelis are hired through the company directly,” while West Bank Palestinians require “a special security permit to be employed.”
No kidding. And do you know why this is done? So that your PLO folks won’t infiltrate the factory floor and blow it up. That’s not discrimination, that’s self defense.
Finally, M. complains: “There is a full discrimination against the [Muslim] workers and we are denied our right to practice our religion.”
Restrictions are especially severe on the assembly line, where most West Bank Palestinians work. M. explained that they are only allowed to pray if prayer times fall “during their lunch break,” otherwise “they are not allowed to pray at all.”
Of course, it’s called pray on your own time—something religious Jewish employees around the planet do every day, scheduling their Mincha prayer to fall on their lunch break.
But it’s good that these attempts to smear SodaStream are out there, showing how little real discrimination the Left can point to, because, let’s face it, in the entire PA there you won’t find a more attractive employer, and the locals are voting with their legs.
Ms. Johansson, I’m a huge fan of your movies, and I see no conflict at all between you work for needy folks around the globe and your work to improve the lives of thousands of Palestinians who benefit from SodaStream.
Give ‘Em Hell, Scarlett!