SodaStream sells carbonation machines for home use and markets itself as an environmentally-friendly company. What many do not realize is that SodaStream is produced in a factory inside Ma’ale Adumim’s industrial park. Ma’ale Adumim is the largest illegal settlement in occupied Palestine.
Israel’s illegal settlements are often identified as the largest obstacle to any peace process, but there are clear incentives put in place by the Israeli government for choosing to carry out your business in the illegal settlements including tax deductions. In addition, the factory employs a number of Palestinian workers who must get special work permits and security clearance to enter and who are not offered the same protection as Jewish workers. Due to massive unemployment resulting from the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Palestinian workers have few employment options. One Palestinian employee of the Ma’ale Adumim factory has been quoted as stating that Palestinian workers are forced to work in slavery-like conditions.
Movie actress Scarlett Johansson has recently found herself in the spotlight and under pressure from human rights organizations for promoting SodaStream’s ‘blood bubbles’ and therefore herself profiting from the occupation after becoming SodaStream’s first Global Brand Ambassador on January 10. The controversy stems from the fact that Johansson is not only endorsing a company widely condemned by Oxfam and many other human rights organizations but that she is also currently a global ambassador for Oxfam.
Following criticism, Johansson responded by defending SodaStream and even went so far as to suggest that it was contributing to “peace between Israel and Palestine”. Oxfam is currently considering her role with their organization, but many are disappointed that it has not already severed ties with the movie star, including the grandson of the charity’s founder who is calling Johansson an “ambassador for oppression”.
While Johansson has taken part in a commercial for the company filmed for a spot during this year’s Superbowl, JTA is reporting that Fox has rejected the commercial, apparently because it referenced major carbonated drinks companies Coke and Pepsi.
SodaStream products are widely available in South Korea but few members of the public are aware that its machines are produced in an illegal settlement and profit from the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and exploitation of Palestinian resources.
We urge you to visit SodaStream’s South Korean Facebook page and express your opinion SodaStream’s business practices. While you’re at it, you might also want to let Oxfam know how you feel that they have not yet dropped Johansson as their own spokesperson despite issuing these clear statements condemning SodaStream’s business practices.
We also urge you to write directly to Johansson’s support staff to let them know how you feel as CodePink has kindly set up this page.