News / Middle East

Boycott Against Israel Impacts Palestinian Workers

Economic Boycott Against Israel Impacts Palestinian Workersi
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February 18, 2014
The Israeli government has announced it will allocate $100 million to counter a growing international boycott against Israeli organizations operating in the Palestinian territories. The issue was highlighted recently by a debate over the maker of a popular soft-drink machine operating in the disputed territories. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from the West Bank town of al-Azariya.

Economic Boycott Against Israel Impacts Palestinian Workers

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Scott Bobb
— The Israeli government has announced it will allocate $100 million to counter a growing international boycott against Israeli organizations operating in the Palestinian territories.

The issue was highlighted recently by a debate over the maker of a popular soft-drink machine operating in the disputed territories.
 
Targeting SodaStream

A chilly dawn is breaking over al-Azariya, outside Jerusalem. Workers gather in the dark waiting for the bus to take them to their jobs at the SodaStream factory in the nearby Jewish settlement, Ma'ale Adumim.
 
SodaStream builds machines that make seltzer, or soda water, for personal use. The machines are popular. But the workers are worried.
 
Jewish settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal by much of the international community. As a result, Israeli enterprises operating here are the target of a growing movement called Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS).
 
Ahmed—who does not want his real name used—arrives early to take the first bus. He's been at SodaStream for eight months and likes his job. He says it pays three times what he would earn working for a Palestinian company and that conditions are good. However, production is down and his work hours have been cut.
 
"I do not support this boycott," he said. "It's not good because the workers are Arabs and there will be no jobs and we will sitting at home. Secondly, it is the big people who are fighting, not the workers, the young people."
 
SodaStream says its employs more than 500 Palestinians as well as Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.  
 
"They work together here," said C.E.O. Daniel Birnbaum. "We have about 1200, 1300 people working in this facility in harmony and peace. And we are very proud of being able to be here and to contribute in our way to the co-existence and hopefully to the peace in this region."

Growing pressure
 
SodaStream faces growing competition from large, multi-national beverage companies, which have been interested in the growing popularity of the company's product.
 
At the same time, the company is under growing pressure from the BDS movement which is making gains.
 
A large Danish pension fund, German banks and several U.S. academic groups recently announced they were severing ties with Israeli partners that operate in the territories.
 
In addition, there is a growing movement to require special labels on Israeli exports from the Palestinian territories. This would make it easier for consumers to boycott Israeli products made in the Palestinian territories.
 
Israeli news media reported Tuesday that several multinational construction companies have withdrawn their bids to build two new ports in Israel, citing pressure from domestic shareholders and activists or a fear of hurting business interests in the Arab world.
 
These developments worry the Israeli government.

Economic hit
 
Finance Minister Yair Lapid last month told an international conference in Tel Aviv that a European boycott would reduce Israeli exports by one-fifth, shrinking the Israeli domestic product by several billion dollarsor more than one percentcausing the loss of 10,000 jobs. Europe is a major partner, accounting for about one-third of Israel's foreign trade.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday told a gathering of world Jewish leaders in Jerusalem that any talk of a boycott in Europe was an outrage and called its advocates "classical anti-Semites in modern garb."

Invoking the boycotts of Jewish businesses in Nazi-led Germany prior to World War II, Netanyahu said, "In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state….I think we have to fight them."

Palestinian organizers of the BDS movement say they are working with various groups, including Israeli ones, to pressure the Israeli government to change its policies.
 
Some groups choose to boycott only products made by Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories. Others advocate a general boycott of all Israeli products.
 
The movement has also succeeded in pressuring some international entertainers to cancel performances in Israel.
 
The Jewish-American actress and singer, Scarlet Johannson, recently had to choose between her role as a celebrity ambassador for SodaStream and for the British charity group, Oxfam.

SodaStream's 2014 Super Bowl commercial featuring actress Scarlett Johansson.SodaStream's 2014 Super Bowl commercial featuring actress Scarlett Johansson.

Oxfam supports the BDS movement against Israel. Johannson resigned from Oxfam and said the boycott works against peace and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.
 
Eyeing long-term gains

Many of the Sodastream's Palestinian workers are too worried to speak to the media. They say privately that they oppose the Jewish settlements but feel the boycott unfairly targets their families and livelihoods.
 
Mahmoud—again, not his real name—has worked at SodaStream for several years, even though he has a degree in banking and finance.
 
"We have no other work but at Sodastream," he said. "If there was another job outside the settlements, we would work there. But all of Palestine is our land. So we ask them to leave all the land, not just the settlement."
 
Omar Barghouti, a local BDS leader, acknowledges the movement hurts Palestinians, but he says Palestinians may have to suffer in the near-term in order to obtain their rights in the long-term.
 
"We are under Israel's control," Barghouti said. "We'll suffer as Israel suffers from the boycott. But the entire Palestinian civil society has said we are ready to pay that price to gain freedom, justice and equality."
 
His words offer little consolation to the workers from al-Azariya who, as the sun rises, board the bus for SodaStream, hoping to return in 12 hours after a full shift, rather than in a few hours following a work-day shortened by sanctions.

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by: PermReader
February 24, 2014 12:10 PM
Israel is the producer of the main human goods - the arms and she is not affraid of the boycotts.The Palestinian sufferings aren`t interesting for the anti-semites ,otherwise they would decided their fate many years ago. Anti-semites turned Palestinians into the mine for the Jews and it`s the hard fate!


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 21, 2014 12:10 AM
I am not a Jew, I am a proud Liberian a friend of the Jews,who believed that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. I am a middle eastern Historian, I am a Jewish historian, My kids were born in the US, I am proud to have American kids, But at the same token if my kids go Liberia, they are Liberian. Their DNA says they are Liberian. I said all this to say, the land of Israel is for the Jews,no matter where they found themselves God Bless Israel.


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 20, 2014 4:35 AM
These are the Israeli leaders and birthplace, We start with the veteran politician, Tzipi Livni was born July 8, 1958, Tel Aviv Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu was born Oct 211949, Tel Aviv
Ehud Olmert was born Sept 30, 1945, before May 15, 1948, Israel
Yitzhak Rabin was born March 1,1922, Israel, before may 15, 1948
Ehud Barak was born Feb 2,1942, Israel before may 15, 1948
The great general at all time,Ariel Sharon was born feb 26,1928,
Israel before may 15, 1948
Shemon Perez is a polish Jews, But yet according to Israeli law,He is a Israelite,Israel is his home land,God Bless Israel


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 20, 2014 1:01 AM
THE EMPIRES THAT OCCUPIED JUDAH,ISRAEL. NOT SO CALL PALESTINE.
There are historical proved that the land belongs to the Jews, there are biblical proved that the land belongs to the Jews, there are Koranic proved that the land belongs to the Jews.
HERE ARE SOME FACTS, DO YOUR STUDY
Ancient Israel and Judah period, 1200-586 BCE
The Persian period 538-332 BCE
The Hasmonean period 332-64 BCE
The Roman period 64 BCE-324 BCE, and in 135 CE, The roman Emperor Hadrian change the name from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, and renamed Judah, Israel to so call palestine. What kind of mess is this? the Jews are the rightful owner of that land.
The Byzantine period 324-638 AD, In AD 610, Mohammed came with a new religion call Islam,, But at that time, the Byzantine was still in controlled of Jerusalem, so Mohammed has never been to Israel. that is not true. The Muslim period 638-1099 AD, Caliph Omar captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine.
The Crusader 1099-1291 AD
The Ottoman period 1517-1917
The British empire and Arthur Balfour, the Balfour declaration. 1917-1948, The State of Israel is reborn. and from that time until now, there will be no nation on the earth that will remove Israel from her Land.God Bless Israel, God Bless the Jews

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 02, 2014 1:16 PM
God bless Israel; God bless the Jews. These historic facts are established in every history book and recordings even in the Persian empire, even to the order by Darius to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. In the Roman archives, it will be discovered that the land has always been Jewish. But it is the British and their cronies in USA that have set the stage to trade the land for oil in their bid to fight against belief in God. Thus the lull in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative may be the hand of God playing in it until the right comes - THERE IS ALWAYS A RIGHT TIME FOR EVERYTHING. Let God arise and His enemies be scattered.


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 19, 2014 11:49 PM
The Issue here is nor about peace,the first and fore more issue on the ground is the none existence of the Jewish State.it is not about land, had it been about land, When the Turks, The Ottoman, and the Muslim empire were controlling the land,they would have ask for a so call Palestinian State. Gff, for your information, the ancient Canaanites were hebrew people. do your study right.However, you don't have to address your issue to me. You can express your views with out pointing finger to me.

Key note, The issue is about the destruction of the Jewish State. And the Arab used the so call Palestinian as a scapegoat for the Arab people propaganda. Let me point out something here, The conflict is dated back to Abraham.It is the conflict between Sarah and Haggar, it is a conflict between Isaac and Ishmeal, It is a conflict between Esau and Jacob, It is a perpetual hatred towards the Jews. Surah 5:51
The issue is not the rightful owner of that land, because the Koran speak of Israel been the rightful owner of that land. Surah 5:20-21, Surah 17:104, The land is for Israel. We support the Jewish people claim to that land.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 02, 2014 1:44 PM
You see it is because of these established facts that no one is trying to go court. In Nigeria, Bakassi local government area was lost to Cameroon in the court. Why has no one thought to go to court to accuse Israel of occupying Arab land? Israel should think it out, and in due time go to court to assert its right of ownership of the land, as China and Japan may do soon over the disputed islands. Or has the court become irrelevant in the new world order - in the civilized world? Is the court also intimidated by the Arab and islamist violence? If so, where can we find defense for the truth?


by: Gff
February 19, 2014 10:49 AM
At Leroy cry baby, who told you that the cities of lovely Palestine are Hebrew you ignorant zealot these are Canaanite names you know the original owners who happen to be the decadents of the palestinians all Arabs around the Mediterranean are arabized culturally and lingustically so ethnically they are not Ashkansi Jews back to where you came from you are 9th century converts to Judaism from khazaria near Russia and spread through Europe after the Russians crushed you

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 02, 2014 1:05 PM
Gff here seems to prove that the main reason for trying to confiscate the land from Israel is to ensure that the biblical prophecies don't come to fulfillment? I have felt so before now, that even the seemingly friendly approach of USA is geared toward distorting that fact - another step they want to use to prove their hypothesis of no God. Unfortunately the so-called religious Arabs are the ones they are using for the evil lab specimen. What goes around comes around. If Abraham has not been called by God, that's it for the bible and the koran (qur'an) or whatever you call it.

In Response

by: paschn from: U.S.
March 02, 2014 9:34 AM
Well said. Khazaria's descendants, (Ashkenazi of Turkic/Mongol lineage) have not one drop of Semite DNA in them, their holy book, the Talmud promotes sexual mutilation, (circumcision), pedophilia, incest and preaches that Jesus the Christ is being boiled in hot excrement for eternity and Mary was a loose woman.
The rulers in occupied Palestine are non-Semite Ashkenazi and make up +/- 95% of the populace. Perhaps the U.S. should be examining Israel's human rights violations rather than Uganda?


by: Gdf
February 19, 2014 10:36 AM
To Leroy padmore , these people were born in the same region bibi satanyahoos grand father is polish jew,tzpi levni Lithuanian Jew,Ariel Sharon Russian Jew,shimon Peres Polish Jew,these people were born in Eastern Europe not the Mid East unless you think the Israelites who were enslaved by the mighty Egyptians 3000 yrs ago are the same as these Zionist I posters then you are ahead of a rude awakening


by: Mr Writer from: Orlando
February 19, 2014 4:38 AM
From my experience the palestinian people aren't trusty.

We need to support Israel and don't fall in palestinian "Bibulo" tactics.


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 18, 2014 11:42 PM
The so call Palestinians don't have claim to that land. Their Koran talks about the Children of Israel, Before those so call people who call themselves Palestinians. Here are some true about the Palestinians leader and their birth place. Yassar Arafat Aug 27, 1929, Egypt
Saeb Erekat Born April 28,1955, Jordan
Faysal Al-Husayni Born July 17,1940, Baghdad Iraq
Sari Nusseibeh born Feb 12, 1949 , Damascus Syria
Mahmoud Al-ZaHar born 1945 Cairo, Egypt
Nayef Hawatmeh born 1935, Jordan
There so called world leaders needs to search history and see the true, and stand for the true. We do't support the boycott movement against Israel. the fact of the matter is in justice towards Israel. All those places are the Jewish people land. The Jews has the right to posses that land. All those so call Arab people need to go back to their country. In their country, they are treated like trash, their own people dont want them there. those are outcast. Those are terrorists who came to terrorized the Jewish people for their land. HOW CAN YOU SAY THE LAN IS FOR YOU, BUT BEFORE MAY 15, 1948, ALL THOSE PLACES WERE NAME HEBREW NAMES? ARE THE WORLD LEADERS TELLING US THAT THE ARAB MAN WHO HATE THE JEWS< WILL NAME HIS LAND OR PLACE A HEBREW NAMES? Please, God Bless Israel and God Bless the Jews. I support Israel

In Response

by: paschn from: U.S.
March 02, 2014 9:38 AM
Ashkenazi = Turkic/Mongol = nonSemite

Ashkenazi = descendants of Khazars = prior to 740 A.D. they were Shamanistic people.

Ashkenazi 95% of those neoJudaic in occupied Palestine

Yes, you definitely need to study history (closer).

In Response

by: Seamorgh21 from: Utah
February 19, 2014 10:37 AM
Fascinating. I didn't realize God was a real estate broker. Leroy, soon as you can find us that deed from 5,000 years ago that states Palestine belongs to European jews, let us know. I suggest you move to Israel. God Bless America.

In Response

by: Dft
February 19, 2014 10:27 AM
But bibi satanyahoo father is polish jew,tzpi levni originally lithiuanean Jew ,Ariel Sharon Russian Jew ,shimo. Peres Polish Jew, and the list goes on for these Zionist and these people were born in the region and most palestinians including the younger generation are born outside of palestine because there forefathers were getting massacred but the Irgun and stern gang a Zionist gang by the way. Most of the Zionist that control isreahell are the descendent of these thugs who were the first terrorist in the holy land and declared terrorist by the British mandate at that time. They even killed Jews at that time


by: Raimo Kangasniemi from: Finland
February 18, 2014 5:56 PM
550 Palestinians work in SodaStream's factory in the illegal settlement of Maaleh Adumin, whose sole reason of existence is to cut deeply into the West Bank, divide it in half and cut East Jerusalem from the West Bank. 250 000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem. If the price of 250 000 people being allowed to stay in their homes in free Palestine is 550 people losing their jobs, then it's a price that need to be paid. There was a time when Americans understood that liberty is paramount.

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