Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Oregon accuses SodaStream of mislabelling
The Israeli company SodaStream has been forced to change the labelling on parts of its product line, specifically those produced in its main facility in Ma'ale Adumim.
As reported here last November, the factory is schedule to close by the end of 2015 and move to Israel's southern Negev region, to the community of Lehavim near Be'er Sheva
In the meantime, the company has been forced to bow to the ruling of the Oregon Department of Justice (ODJ), which maintains it has violated the state's Fair Trade Practices Act by giving products made in Ma'ale Adumim a "Made in Israel" label when the parts are actually sourced from the West Bank settlement.
The act, which is meant to protect consumers, makes false representations and false advertising of a consumer product illegal and holds retailers accountable if they sell such products.
Does the label change compromise the quality of SodaStream's product? The answer is most certainly no.
Under the guise of human rights, boycott, divestment and sanctions movement supporters want to harm Israeli exporters around the world. Petitioning regulatory bodies to argue that Israel and its successful businesses conduct illegal practices, act unethically or operate in ways that undermine Palestinian society is a key tool in their toolkit.
Rod Such, speaking on behalf of the PDX Boycott Occupation Soda! Coalition, made the following statement: "Many people of conscience refuse to purchase products made in Israel's illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, but in the case of SodaStream, they were deceived by false labelling that claimed the products were produced within Israel's internationally recognized borders."
Palestinian employees are valued by SodaStream, so much so that CEO Daniel Birnbaum very much wishes to keep them on and arrange for them to follow the facility when it moves to Lehavim. Work permits issued by the Israeli government would allow them to enter Israel each day for their shifts.
Alas, aside from all that the BDS movement is doing to undermine the company, SodaStream is reportedly facing significant declines in revenues and profits as North Americans increasingly shift their drinking habits in favour of juices and teas.
As a result, 2015 is looking no better than 2014 turned out to be.