ISRAELI carbonated drinks firm SodaStream faced a fresh flood of boycott protests yesterday over its ties to the illegal occupation of Palestine.
High-street chains including Asda, Argos, Currys, Robert Dyas and Sainsbury’s will all be targeted for stocking products from the company, whose main industrial site is in the sprawling West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign released a stark dossier yesterday detailing how the manufacture of the carbonating machines within a militarily occupied zone breaches a raft of international laws.
Taxes from SodaStream also help finance the settlement located at a strategic point that splits the West Bank in two and links up.
And the firm stands accused of a string of abuses including the exploitation of 500 low-paid Palestinian workers at the plant, which benefits from tax breaks and other incentives from Tel Aviv.
One anonymous worker for the firm, whose slogan is “set the bubbles free,” said Palestinians felt “enslaved” and faced being fired on the spot at the whim of bosses.
“They treat us like slaves,” he said.
But the Don’t Buy SodaStream campaign has claimed recent success, with John Lewis pulling the firm’s machines from its stores last month following fortnightly protests and a mass letter-writing push.
Local activists in Brighton also celebrated last month when a flagship store shut its doors after a long-running picket.
Now local groups up and down the country are poised to mount fresh protests this weekend exposing the firm and demanding that other retailers boycott its products.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairman Hugh Lanning told the Morning Star: “If you buy from SodaStream you are supporting Israel’s illegal settlements — financially and morally.
“This isn’t a victimless crime. Seven Palestinian villages were destroyed so this settlement could be built.
“This summer we’ve celebrated some landmark successes — after months of campaigning the SodaStream shop in Brighton finally closed its doors, and John Lewis has announced it will stop stocking SodaStream in their stores.
“We are seeing a huge change in political and public support for Palestinian human rights.”
Visit www.palestinecampaign.org for information on protests and activities near you.