Friday, January 31, 2014

From the Christian Science Monitor:

[T]hose most familiar with the factory – Palestinians who work there – largely side with Ms. Johansson.

“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” says a young man shivering in the pre-dawn darkness in Azzariah, a West Bank town cut off from work opportunities in Jerusalem by the concrete Israeli separation wall. Previously, he earned 20 shekels ($6) a day plucking and cleaning chickens; now he makes nearly 10 times that at SodaStream, which also provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.

As a few dozen men in hoodies and work coats trickle out of the alleys to the makeshift bus stop where they wait for their ride to the factory, another adds, “If SodaStream closes, we would be sitting in the streets doing nothing.”

Speaking anonymously on a largely deserted street, with no Israeli SodaStream employees present, all but one of those interviewed said they opposed the boycott, given the lack of alternative job opportunities in the West Bank. That underscores Israeli claims that a boycott would be counterproductive, undermining the cooperation and prosperity that could boost peace prospects in the region.

Omar Jibarat of Azzariah, the father of a newborn, is one of those who works in Israel, leaving home well before 6 a.m. for a construction job in Tel Aviv. Though he makes good money, he spends four hours in transit every day and would rather work at the SodaStream factory 15 minutes away.

“I would love to work for SodaStream. They’re quite privileged. People look up to them,” Mr. Jibarat says. “It’s not the people who want to boycott, it’s the officials.”

That’s a common refrain among the SodaStream workers who show up after Jibarat catches his ride.

Leaning up against the cement half-walls of the bus stop, jackets pulled up over their cold hands and faces and cigarette butts glowing in the dark, they blame the PA for failing to create jobs while taking a political stand against Israeli business that do.

“The PA can say anything it wants and no one will listen because it’s not providing an alternative,” says one man, a 2006 political science graduate of Al Quds University bundled in a jacket bearing the SodaStream logo. As for reports that the company doesn’t honor labor rights, that’s “propaganda,” he says. “Daniel [Birnbaum, the CEO of SodaStream,] is a peacemaker.”
The writer did find one disgruntled employee, bolstering my thesis of the interview bias employed by Reuters' Noah Browning and Electronic Intifada's "reporter" who found possibly that same disgruntled employee (his statement sounds a lot like what EI's employee said):

One of the workers waiting for the SodaStream bus this morning says he hates the fact that he’s working in an Israeli settlement, and lies to people when they inquire about his work.

“I’m ashamed I’m working there,” he says. “I feel this is our land, there should be no [Israeli] factory on this land.”

He feels like a “slave,” working 12 hours a day assembling parts – drilling in 12,000 screws a day, he adds.
The Christian Science Monitor is hardly pro-settlement, and plenty of the article explains the viewpoint of the Israel-haters, which gives this account far more credibility.

My update to my previous post about this showed that NPR also found employees at the plant were happy. Which means that JTA, NPR, CSM and The Forward all agree that workers at SodaStream are happy, and the only ones who disagree are Reuters' Noah Browning and EI - both of which have records of, frankly, lying.

Again we see the difference between how real journalists work and how dishonest, advocacy "journalists" work. Electronic Intifada and Reuters' Noah Browning should not be trusted as being honest about anything in the Middle East.

(h/t Benny)




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