Google Ads for SodaStream, the carbonated beverage maker produced in Israeli settlements, seem to be hounding my every move on the Internet these days. That’s most likely because I’m in the midst of working on a nationwide interfaith collaborative boycott campaign against the newest kitchen-tech gadget to hit the American market.
One such appearance recently, however, reached the heights of perfect irony. Were it not so sickening, it could almost be funny: Google placed a SodaStream ad on the bottom of a video that captured Israeli soldiers arresting a young Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old baby.
SodaStream is marketing itself as a holistic and environmentally friendly alternative to established sodas, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. It’s supposed to help cut down on plastic bottles in landfills and its syrups are supposed to be less expensive and healthier than pop you’d buy in the store. All advertorial hyperbole, based upon one investigation.
The biggest reason Palestine solidarity activists around the world are boycotting SodaStream is because it is produced, in part, in an Israeli settlement, which is built illegally on stolen Palestinian land. Settlements entrench Israel’s colonizing and apartheid policies by confiscating ever more land, roads and buffer zones meant only for Jewish residents. Because settlements are protected by the Apartheid Wall, checkpoints and Israel’s security apparatus, Palestinians have lost their freedom of movement. Many of them have lost their jobs as a result because they cannot travel into 1948 Palestine anymore, or because the Wall has cut them off from their fields and other livelihoods. As a result, many Palestinians — including children as young as 12 — work in settlements. They are routinely underpaid and overworked, according to a new study by WhoProfits.org, an organization that tracks companies that profit from the occupation.
Another reason activists boycott products made in settlements is because these items support the settlement industry, which in turn helps nourish Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine.
Another practice that shores up the occupation is Israel’s random arrest and detention of Palestinians. Currently, more than 4,600 Palestinians are incarcerated illegally in Israeli prisons. Every year, some 700 children, as young as 10 years old, are arrested and processed through Israel’s military court system, according to Swiss-based organization Defence for Children International – Palestine Section. As of December 2012, nearly 180 children were behind bars.
Apparently, 18 months isn’t too young to be jailed. On Jan. 19, Israeli soldiers, acting to help illegal settlers appropriate Palestinian land and olive orchards, arrested Qamar, her mother Rima Ismail Awad, and several others as they attempted to access their land.
Ma’an News reported that the infant was released that night, while Rima was released the following day.
What kind of democracy takes a baby into custody?
The fact a SodaStream ad appeared on the video of the violent arrest breaches credulity. SodaStream is a product that supports an occupation apparatus that allows for the incarceration of an infant – and indeed thousands and thousands of innocent Palestinians, many of whom are being held without charge or trials. Samer Al-Issawi is one such prisoner. He is in critical condition and near death, after having refused food for 184 days to protest Israel’s use of administrative detention, torture and other human rights abuses.
SodaStream needs to go away, and settlements along with it. Boycott, divestment and sanctions is the one way to make this happen. BDS is a peaceful method to pressure Israel to comply with international law in the absence of global diplomatic or political pressure.
Do you part. Join BDS. Boycott SodaStream. Fight for justice for Palestinian prisoners. And stand in solidarity with Palestinians as they work for their internationally guaranteed right of self-determination.
The interfaith boycott committee, housed within the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is a group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim activists committed to working for justice in Palestine. American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Unitarian Universalist for Middle East Justice, Quakers and other Christians groups are involved. We’re gearing up to kick off our campaign on SuperBowl Sunday, when SodaStream plans to have a splashy commercial during the fourth quarter. Get involved by entering a ‘spoof commercial’ video contest, holding a Fizzies For Freedom house party on Super Bowl Sunday, or join our Twitter campaign. For more information and the list of all the fun ways you can help boycott SodaStream, click here.