SodaStream Controversy Fueled by Lies and Distortions — and Israel's Occupation

Palestinian Workers Treated Equally at Factory

Glitz and Tall Tales: SodaStream’s supporters and defenders have both bent the facts about the Israeli company. Finding the truth starts in the West Bank settlement where its factory is located.
getty images
Glitz and Tall Tales: SodaStream’s supporters and defenders have both bent the facts about the Israeli company. Finding the truth starts in the West Bank settlement where its factory is located.

By Nathan Jeffay

Published January 30, 2014, issue of February 07, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

To some people, it’s a storm in a soda cup. But to others, SodaStream’s most ambitious advertising campaign ever, starring Scarlett Johansson, is a potent symbol of all that is bad about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The ad campaign, to be kicked off during the broadcast of the Super Bowl, on February 2, has it all — a celebrity name, sex appeal, an environmental motif and a healthy-living theme. It even had a subversive element that took a dig at Coke and Pepsi before this part was banned by Fox, the Super Bowl’s broadcaster, generating further publicity. To critics, however, all this just underscores their concern that operating from Israeli settlements deemed illegal by the international community is no impediment to commercial success.

In the run-up to the Super Bowl, Johansson and SodaStream have come under both withering attack from critics of the settlements, including those calling for an anti-Israel boycott, and stirring praise from defenders of Israel, in particular from the right-wing nationalist camp. The two sides have propagated portraits of the company and its policies that are mutually irreconcilable. What they do share, a probe by the Forward has found, are a tendency to distort facts and tell incomplete truths and, in some cases, outright falsehoods. Information put out by SodaStream itself avoids the last of these pitfalls but does offer spin that leaves viewers with a less-than-complete picture.

Meanwhile, over and above that, is the issue of the land on which the SodaStream factory sits.

The Mishor Adumim industrial park, where the SodaStream plant is sited, and the settlement Ma’ale Adumim, of which the park is a part, are not hard-line outposts. Israelis regard Ma’ale Adumim as one of the “consensus” settlements — those deemed certain to be retained, with possible land swaps, in any final peace deal with the Palestinians that would establish a Palestinian state.

Just 15 minutes outside Jerusalem, Ma’ale Adumim is nevertheless a settlement especially loathed by Israeli peace activists. It was made possible in the 1970s by one of the largest expropriations of Palestinian land implemented by Israel during its 46-year occupation of the West Bank.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the land on which the settlement and its industrial zone, including SodaStream, now sit was taken from the Palestinian towns Abu Dis, al-’Izariyyeh, al-’Issawiyyeh, a-Tur and Anata. Other expropriated lands are areas in which the Jahalin and Sawahareh Bedouin tribes lived before Israel evicted them.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.