The Sodastream decision

Sodastream is a successful Israeli company, that produces soda-making products for the international market.  Its factory was located on the West Bank, where it gave employment to hundreds of Palestinian Arabs who otherwise would not have jobs and would either be on welfare or starve.  But, the BDS movement found out that Sodastream was located on the “occupied” West Bank and was “exploiting” Palestinians, so they mounted a campaign against Sodastream.  They tried to prevent Scarlett Johanssen, the beautiful American actress, from playing in ads for the company, but they failed.  So they went on the offensive and mounted a boycott of Sodastream.

In order to avoid the consequences of this boycott, the company made a decision to move its facility to Israel proper, and so they built a new factory at Lehavim north of Beersheva.   In order to replace the Palestinian workers they lost, Sodastream employs locals, namely Beduin Arabs from the nearby city of Rahat and Jews from Beersheva.   But, the CEO of the company Daniel Birnbaum decided to keep 74 long-time employees whom he particularly valued and offered them jobs at the new location, and they accepted (probably because they had no other choice) even though they would have to drive 2 hours each way in a bus  that was provided. But, they need permission from the Israeli authorities, since workers from the Palestinian territories are often very hostile to Israel and constitute a potential threat of terrorism to Israeli civilians.  The Israeli authorities have refused permission for these Palestinians, on the grounds that since the company was now located in Israel, it should employ Israeli workers.

The CEO argues that these are particularly loyal employees, who pose no security threat, and since Israel allows some 60,000 Palestinian workers to enter Israel every day, why should they not be included.  He argues that these are precisely the kind of Palestinian Arabs who are living in peace with Israel and should be helped.  On the other hand, losing their jobs is a message to Palestinians and their supporters of the BDS movement, carry out boycotts of Israeli companies and you will suffer.  Personally I do not see that we should employ Palestinians out of sentiment, when there are Israelis who equally need the jobs and they are much closer.  If the BDSers don’t like this arrangement let them pay for their Palestinian clients.

Finally, the CEO of Sodastream guarantees that these are perfectly “loyal” Palestinians, who are friendly towards Israel.  But suppose one of them smuggles in a knife and then kills an Israeli, which even very loyal Arab workers have done in the past (sometimes under threat to their family by Hamas), what would he do then.  Beg forgiveness?

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7 thoughts on “The Sodastream decision

  1. Jack, I agree wholeheartedly with your summation. In the end, it’s boils down to a matter of self-protection, as much as we would like to help those “so called Loyal” Palestinians. Love to Naomi from both of us.

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  2. I FINALLY REALIZED THAT YOUR BLOG GOT LOST IN SPAM… NOW I’LL TRY TO GET TO YOU MORE OFTEN.. I GUESS YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE DOING YOUR SON-IN-LAW’S KING AND I.. I HOPE YOU AND NAOMI WILL JOIN US FOR THE PURIM DINNER..AND JOIN THE FESTIVITIES. FONDLY MILLIE

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    • Since you were listed as a follower I knew you were receiving the blog postings. That’s why I told you to look in your spam folder. Anything from a site rather than personal may get spammed.
      When is your Purim dinner? I hope it doesn’t conflict with our trip to Beersheva for Purim with our family.
      Best wishes Jack

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  3. It is glaringly obvious that you wrote your statement from a very narrow-minded perspective. (1) Did you ever visit the campus of Sodastream and see how that “family” works together? (2) Did you ever delve beyond the superficialities and learn the multiple reasons for the factory’s move? (3) Did you ever check what shields Israel has against the accusation of Apartheid in the Western world and that Sodastream is its best shield — now possibly destroyed because of rationalizations of the type that you embrace? (4) Did you ever ask yourself, how come that 60,000 to 100,000 Palestinians brought in daily are OK, and 74 well-proven, literally adopted by Israelis are not and constitute a possible danger of smuggling in knives that every young terrorist can find in his mother’s kitchen? (5) Did you ask yourself why the 74 will teach the BDS a lesson they did not learn from the 600 who lost their jobs in the move from Mishor Adumim? (6) Did you ask yourself why Israel is aching to hire 20,000 Chinese or Indian workers whom it is anxious to import, yet doesn’t have a job for 74 proven workers?
    Come, wake up, and see the narrow-mindedness of the governmental bureaucrats’ decision. “Sodastream symbolizes the cooperation that can be forged between Israelis and Palestinians. The government’s failure to allow that cooperation to continue seems to be vindictive, mean-spirited and shortsighted”.(Jerusalem Post, Editorial, March 4, 2016. page 13)

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