A French court has ordered a Pro-Palestinian Authority group affiliated with the Boycott Israel movement to compensate the company and to stop all activities alleging that SodaStream products are illegally made and sold.
The company, whose Mishor Adumim factory in Israel’s Judean Desert is only one of 20 around the world, sued the Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS) in a Paris civil court for activities that the company said included “falsely claiming that the products are ‘illegally sold’ as a result of being manufactured in ‘occupied territories’ while bearing the ‘Made in Israel’ label.”
AFPS lobbied retailers to remove SodaStream products from their shelves and has been actively encouraging a boycott since 2010.
“While SodaStream has succeeded to stop this campaign at the retailer levels, AFPS has persisted with active and sometimes violent demonstrations in store,” the company told The Jewish Press Tuesday.
OPM, SodaStream’s exclusive distributor in France, filed a suit three years ago against AFPS Court for the campaign and for denigrating SodaStream products at French retailers.
The Civil of Court of Paris now has ruled in favor of SodaStream.
The court concluded that a boycott, even if instituted for political or moral considerations, must be “fair” and not abusive, a condition that AFPS violated by defacing a SodaStream advertisement and covering it with an image of blood as part of its smear campaign.
AFPS told retailers and the public that SodaStream products were being sold illegally and, according to the company, “advised French stores that selling SodaStream products constitutes a fraud, and that store managers could be prosecuted for doing so.”
The court said the boycott was unfair because false information was disseminated about SodaStream.
The court ordered AFPS to cease and desists from claiming that SodaStream products are being sold illegally or fraudulently and gave it two weeks to remove such indications from its website and media
The amount of compensation to SodaStream for damages has not been available for publication.
The decision came at the most opportune time for SodaStream. The BDS lobby thought it could take the fizz out of the company’s recent hookup with Scarlett Johansson as its new world ambassador. The actress, who is Jewish, also is starring in SodaStream’s commercial to be aired during the Super Bowl game next week.
But Johansson, after a couple of days of silence, did not crumble under the pressure and instead stood up for SodaStream.
She has done a better job than any Israeli official could ever do to state the view that SodaStream’s employment of several hundred Palestinian Authority Arabs, with the same benefits and conditions as Jews, is the best peace process around.