Articles – The Centre for Independent Studies

SodaStream boycott goes flat for Palestinians

Peter Kurti

04 March 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

SodaStream boycott goes flat for PalestiniansA sustained boycott campaign spearheaded by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement forced SodaStream to close its factory in the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim last October and move its operations to Israel — putting some 1300 jobs at risk.

On Monday, after the Israeli government let their work permits lapse because of security concerns, the company had to lay off the last of its 75 Palestinian employees who now have to worry about feeding their families and keeping roofs over their heads.

In the name of ‘liberating’ the Palestinians, the BDS campaigners demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders, unwind its so-called apartheid policies discriminating against Israeli Arabs, and concede the right of return of Palestinian refugees as set out in UN Resolution 194.

Advocates of the BDS movement insist their target is the political regime meting out what they describe as the illegal, coercive and dehumanising treatment of Palestinians. It’s all part of a systematic attempt to starve Israel of economic, social and cultural ties with other countries, and to humiliate it in the eyes of other nations.

But the three objectives amount to more than a nuanced critique of Israeli government policy; they are a sustained attack on the very legitimacy of the state of Israel itself.

Many justifiable criticisms can be leveled at Israel for not doing more to promote educational and economic opportunities for its Arab citizens. But while the target of BDS is supposed to be Israel, the real victims of this campaign for justice and liberation are the Palestinians themselves.

The Israeli government didn’t force SodaStream to close its doors and sack its workers. Supporters of Palestine did the forcing, and they’re okay with it. Mahoud Nawajaa, BDS coordinator in Ramallah said the job losses were simply part of the price to be paid for ending the occupation.

With the declarations of a noble and glorious victory ringing in their ears, those newly unemployed must really wonder, in the quietness of their hearts, whose side the BDS activists are really on.

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