Monday, February 3, 2014

Yes, Scarlett, SodaStream Is Problematic

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum appeared on Israel’s Channel One this past Friday night to explain why his star, Scarlett Johansson, left Oxfam to keep her job as goodwill ambassador for his brand. (A major SodaStream plant — if you have been vacationing on Mars for the past few days — is located in an industrial park just outside of Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement — actually a suburb of nearly 40,000 — plunk between Ramallah and Bethlehem; yesterday, Johansson’s pouty, strippy ad for the company woke up some younger Super Bowl fans.)

“She was sick of the bullying,” Birnbaum, affable and decent, told the delighted television panel of pundits. She is for two states and against the settlements, but she sees us creating a business based on “Israeli and Palestinian cooperation.” One pundit reinforced his case with characteristic Israeli pundit righteousness: “The Palestine Authority is not creating jobs this good!”—so what’s the problem?

Johansson herself has been on message. “I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” she (or her PR firm) wrote in a press release. “SodaStream is a company…supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

Ms. Johansson has obviously concluded that Israelis and Palestinians will split the land someday and that, meanwhile, hey, let’s promote a company that gives Arabs jobs. But the position she endorses, I mean, “endorses,” distorts the meaning of cooperation more or less completely.

Read the whole post at Talking Points Memo


Potter said...

I suppose you are right. But at least she is calling attention to the situation-- and here is your article on it as well.

Other than that, she is stunning. Maybe she will evolve.

Y. Ben-David said...

No, Dr Avishai, Sodastream isn't the problem. The problem is you and me. We both came from North America and the Arabs say we have no business being on their turf. If they boycott Sodastream, they will end up boycotting you as well. It's that simple.

In any event, Israel's presence in the West Bank is not economic, so even if Sodastream were to pull out of the area, Israel's strategic and historic presence there won't change.

Potter said...

The Arabs don't say that Ben-David-- not all, probably not even a majority. Some do for sure. They know Israel is here to stay,and they are willing to accept that but on the Israeli side of the line as per international law. The problem really is people like you who can't differentiate between a fanatic opinion or goal ( on both sides) and the rest. As to the risk- there is no path forward without risk- the worst being the status quo (or so-called).

Y. Ben-David said...

Potter-PROVE IT. Show me quotes of Palesitnian leaders TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE IN ARABIC saying they will accept sharing the country with an independent sovereign Jewish state (just like Israel was require to recognize "the legitimate rights of the Palesinian people") because the Jews are just as native to the country as the Arabs. I have thrown down the gauntlet. Prove your assertion!
Statements made to Western reporters or diplomats do not count.

Potter said...

The same duplicitousness is going on it Israel. I have to PROVE nothing to you. There is risk not only for Israel but for the Palestinians as well since they can be re-occupied again. There is NO WAY you can avoid risk BUT the risk of doing nothing is far greater because Israel is moving itself out on a ledge.

Of course Jews from hundreds and thousands of years ago are "native". And Jews from even a hundred years ago are native. But so are Arabs. Get over it. The land needs to be divided and Palestine needs to be sovereign. People like you have to stop shivering in their boots expecting the worst. It's a shame when Israel, so strong militarily, behaves like it is the weaker and it's the Palestinians, who have no military strength, and pledge to be without it, AND to have outside forces to check on that, have the stronger MORAL position. We are not talking about ancient times, we are talking about international law in the 21st century.

The world is tired of this conflict... stubborn opinions like yours. You are gradually losing support here in the USA... even amongst Jews.

zotzed said...

I have gone back & forth on whether to buy SodaStream. I was about to spring for it, when a NY Times piece — "In West Bank Settlements, Israeli Jobs Are Double-Edged Sword" (2/11/14) made me hesitate again, as does your post on the subject.

I see all the reasons for not supporting a venture such as SodaStream, and certainly can't argue it is a model for economic development on the West Bank/ future Palestine. What I don't see, though, is how, in the short-term, boycotting SodaStream, perhaps forcing it to relocate out of the West Bank, does anybody any good.

Soda Streamer said...

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum appeared on Israel's Channel One this past Friday night to explain why his star, Scarlett Johansson, left ...