As many of you no doubt know, the Israeli company SodaStream recently shuttered its factory in Mishor Adumim. This was not done simply out of business interests. This was done after a concerted campaign of pressure orchestrated by the global BDS movement. One might think that the fact that SodaStream’s Mishor Adumim factory was in an area that is expected to remain under Israeli control in any hypothetical peace deal would not make them an ideal target. Or the fact that it was the second largest single employer of Palestinians (only after the Palestinian Authority itself) and that its Palestinian employees worked alongside Israeli Jews and Arabs in identical conditions, while receiving identical compensation would show that this was not exactly a good company for BDS to attack.
For that to hold true, however, one would have to believe the BDS movement was pro-Palestinian and pro-peace, when in fact it is really anti-Israel and anti-peace.
As a loyal SodaStream user and supporter of Israel, for years I was happy that each time I pressed down on my SodaStream I wasn’t just getting great soda right in my home, but I was sticking it to the Israel haters, if only in my own small way.
But now I’m not so sure.
SodaStream held a ceremony for its workers as it closed down its Judean plant on February 29 and CEO Daniel Birnbaum made sure it was filmed for propaganda purposes. But this video wasn’t made to highlight the country he claims to proudly serve, but to demonize it.
Posted by Itai Bichler on Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The video begins with a dedication “to our 74 Palestinian Friends,” the Palestinian workers who didn’t have their temporary work visas extended after Birnbaum closed their factory. He stands surrounded by his former employees as they cry for the camera while he plays the hero.
Birnbaum exhorts the workers he just fired to “never forget what we built here at SodaStream. We built here an island of peace.” He then begs the employees he sacrificed for his bottom line not to “let hate enter your hearts.”
Birnbaum then continued by rallying the people he just recently put out of work by ensuring that none of them would hold him accountable for what he chose to do to them. And who would he blame for his own decisions?
Why the Israeli government of course!
“Even if the government of Israel is willing to give up on this proof that we can live together, that we can live in peace in a productive and respectful way, even if they gave up, I’m not giving up and you’re not giving up.”
How very touching.
It wasn’t Birnbaum who chose to appease the Jew-haters at BDS by closing down his factory that caused his employees to lose their jobs. It was the Israeli government which refused to issue even more work visas (on top of the tens of thousands used every day) at a time when Palestinians are attempting to murder Israelis on a daily basis. It is the evil Israeli government that is forcing Birnbaum to hire more Israeli workers, which will most likely be mostly Israeli Arab workers from Rahat and nearby villages, thereby helping reduce high levels of unemployment in those areas.
It wasn’t Birnbaum who abandoned peace by closing his factory where Jews and Arabs worked side-by-side. According to Birnbaum it was the Israeli government which said the unthinkable to the self-righteous Birnbaum: no.
It wasn’t Birnbaum who gave up and closed up shop. No, no, don’t let facts confuse you. Remember, leftists must never be held accountable for their own actions, especially not when there is a convenient right-wing scapegoat available.
The level of Birnbaum’s chutzpah in this video are astounding. After spending years cultivating SodaStream as a brand that was the progressive face of Israel, one that stood up to both BDS and “the occupation” at the same time (with a side order of progressive “green”), Birnbaum did what all leftists eventually do when faced with outside pressure from immoral forces: he appeased.
However, like all appeasement, Birnbaum gained nothing and needed a way to save face. Since the BDS movement’s issue with SodaStream was that it was Israeli not that it had a factory east of Jerusalem, it continues to call for a boycott (yet again ignoring the Arabs they claim to support). On the other side, the Israeli government was in no hurry to expand the number of work permits for Palestinians during the Stabbing Intifada, especially when there are plenty of loyal Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, who would love to have those steady, good-paying jobs.
But as happens whenever a plan hatched by the Left eventually crumbles in the face of reality, Birnbaum refuses to take responsibility, apologize or change tactics. Instead he blamed Israel and did so on the global stage.
Birnbaum should be ashamed of himself, but of course he is not. When he chose to appease BDS he became complicit in their immoral actions and goals. Had he truly believed in his vision of an “Island of Peace” with Jews and Arabs working together, he would have stood firm. How exactly is putting hundreds of Palestinians out of work pro-Palestinian? How is firing hundreds of workers treating them like your “big family?”
I wonder how long it will be before Birnbaum gives in to the continuing pressure and moves all his factories out of the country. Perhaps he will blame that on Israel as well. I’m sure he will try to spin that as actually being pro-peace as well. Maybe in that video he’ll convince some kippah wearing workers to cry for the cameras just as he convinced his hijab-sporting former workers to do last week.
Only time will tell. But one thing is clear: Birnbaum isn’t selling carbonated water, just his own hot air.