My first-ever holiday party was going great until someone in the living room wanted club soda for his vodka. It’s not that I wasn’t prepared. I was in the kitchen, overseeing eggnog, and I handed my co-host a bottle of seltzer made for the occasion with my SodaStream countertop carbonator. He’s the one who told me what happened next.Those brave leftists - insisting that everyone else boycott a product that they secretly love.
“Enjoy your Palestinian blood cocktails,” the left-wing reporter said to the vodka drinkers.
This wasn’t the first objection I'd encountered to SodaStream, which turns a bottle of tap water into sparkling with three pumps of a recyclable carbon dioxide cartridge. SodaStream is an Israeli company with a manufacturing plant in occupied territory in the West Bank, a fact that enrages a politically informed, far-left segment of the liberal-yuppie demographic the product is marketed to. By bringing environmental foodie-ism into conflict with humanitarianism, SodaStream has turned the most inoffensive of soft drinks — Sustainable! Sugar-free! — into a political liability for civilians and celebrities alike as they attempt to buy and endorse the correct products.
...For non-famous SodaStreamers, beverage diplomacy is a question of etiquette. At a Thanksgiving with college friends, the appearance of SodaStream’s distinctive, reusable bottles was met with similar tut-tutting. “Blood bubbles,” someone called them. Defending herself, the hostess said the machine had been a gift. Now I say that too, even though I bought mine myself.
Others will sacrifice SodaStream’s sleek countertop design in order to save face. “A lefty journalist friend of mine in Tel Aviv has a machine he keeps under his kitchen sink so that he doesn’t get embarrassed when other lefties come over for dinner,” said Ali Gharib, a reporter covering Middle East issues.
...Even the most fervent anti-Zionists will admit that, for seltzer addicts, SodaStream’s competitors leave something to be desired. iSi’s Twist’n’Sparkle was recalled after a series of dangerous bottle explosions. The Primo Flavorstation — now teamed up with Cuisinart — is a near fit, but its gas cylinder refills are harder to locate. So some fans devise elaborate work-arounds. After Gharib informed his SodaStream-owning cousin of the product’s settlement origins, the cousin began a “subversive campaign” to undermine SodaStream’s business model by using the gas cylinders, then mailing them back to the company claiming they’d been defective and receiving free replacements in return. “This went on for a year,” Gharib said.
Novelist and Code Pink activist Nancy Kricorian uses similar rationale when confronting friends about their SodaStreams. “The bulk of the profit comes not from the machine but from the refill,” she said. “If you can find an alternative source for the CO2 you can decrease your guilt by about 75 percent.”
This is similar to the reaction that Cornell "Students for Justice in Palestine" had when it was pointed out they were using Israeli technology for their webpage. Insist that everyone else boycotts Israel, but use Israeli products yourself if it would inconvenience you otherwise.
How principled they are!
To be clear, SodaStream’s factory is not located in a radical settlement; it is located a 10-minute drive from Jerusalem in an industrial park next to one of the largest settlement blocs — Ma’aleh Adumim — which will likely be incorporated into Israel in any future deal.More to the point, if the boycotters would have their way, hundreds of Palestinian Arabs would be out of a job:
On a recent afternoon, women wearing hijabs hurried to their shifts at the plant located in Ma’ale Adumin, a suburban settlement about 15 minutes west of Jerusalem. Some 500 West Bank Palestinians work at the site, in addition to 400 Arabs from eastern Jerusalem and a mix of 200 Israeli Jews and foreign workers, including refugees from Africa.
The Maale Adumim factory has an on-site mosque and a synagogue, and Jewish and Arab employees share the same dining hall. SodaStream has two other facilities in Israel, in Ashkelon and the Galilee town of Mount Tabor. The Galilee factory employs several hundred Israeli Arabs.
“Everyone works together: Palestinians, Russians, Jews,” a Palestinian employee named Rasim at the Maale Adumim site told JTA. Rasim has worked at the plant for four months and asked that his last name not be published. “Everything is OK. I always work with Jews. Everyone works together, so of course we’re friends.”
For SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum, treating Arabs and Jews equally is a doctrine, not a convenience.But the Israel-haters don't worry about such things - because it doesn't affect them, only the Palestinians they claim to love.
“We practice equality and full cooperation both on the job and off it,” Birnbaum told the Arab publication Al Monitor in a recent interview.
“SodaStream has always been a target of the BDS movement, and has developed into a major campaign since late 2011,” a BDS spokesperson told Al Arabiya News."We reject the suggestion" - what more proof do you need? Meanwhile, hundreds more Arabs, who get significantly higher salaries than those who work in PA-controlled areas, would be jobless.
“We reject any suggestion that the reality that Palestinians are sometimes left with no choice but to work in illegal Israeli settlements is a reason not to take action to end international complicity in human rights violations,” the spokesperson added.
The Forward, trying to justify its anti-SodaStream position, linked to a study by a rabidly anti-Israel group named Who Profits that claimed that Sodastream exploits Arab workers, but even that study admits that the problem was cleared up years ago. I've shown previously that Who Profits only fights against Jewish-owned factories in the territories, not those owned by Israeli Arabs. In other words - they are antisemitic and their objectivity is close to nil.
But the leftists will keep trying to find reasons to justify their hate after the fact, and if a study by an antisemitic group says that something was bad in 2007, well, damn, that's enough reason right there to hate it!
Here's a company that employs hundreds of Palestinian Arabs, treats them well, in an area that will undoubtedly remain a part of Israel in any peace agreement. A company whose president publicly berated Shimon Peres for not treating his Arab employees with respect. Instead of treating Arabs as helpless children, as leftists do, Sodastream empowers them. SodaStream does more to actually help Arabs than any NGO does.
And the leftists, filled with bile, dismiss its products as "blood bubbles." Their positions are never about their supposed support for Palestinian Arabs, but rather about their hate of Israeli Jews.
Make no mistake - the psychology behind an irrational hatred of everything Israeli is exactly the same as any other bigotry. The same brain chemistry that is behind racism and sexism is behind the crazed, visceral loathing of anything Israeli.
The only difference is that the leftist hate is accompanied by a smugness that their hate is somehow righteous.