A store owner in Toronto has refused to cave in to BDS pressure, instead preferring to use her investigative skills to find out a little something called the truth.
Since her store — Ecoexistence — sells all kinds of products dedicated to improving the environment, she thought SodaStream’s environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bottles was a natural fit.
The Israeli product transforms tap water into sparkling water, which is contained in a reusable bottle. It does so using a gas canister — most of the company’s models do not need electricity either.
“I was happy never to see another plastic water bottle,” Klopp said during a recent visit to her store. “My store is about the environment … this is an environmental product … it’s amazing how much plastic it is saving.”
About two years ago, the very first BDS advocate visited her store plying her with “all kinds of literature” that claimed “Palestinians were being used and abused” in SodaStream’s West Bank factory.
Klopp said she read all the BDS literature and then called SodaStream, whose officials sent her a video called Island of Peace documenting Palestinian and Israelis working peacefully together at the former SodaStream factory in the West Bank.
Once she saw the video, Klopp felt even better about the product.
“My (store’s) name is Eco-exist,” she says. “If people can co-exist (like at Sodastream) I’m all for that.”
But the BDS activists have continued to visit her store trying to pressure her to stop selling SodaStream products and threatening not to shop there if she refused. Klopp said about 20 have attempted to coerce her, some of them Jewish and others students from U of T and Ryerson. One Jewish woman followed up with her every day for two months to see if she’d backed down and wrote a review about her on Facebook.Even though other large retailers like Canadian Tire and Walmart carry SodaStream products, Klopp believes she has been targeted because the BDSers don’t get anywhere with them.
Nickerson said Ecoexistence has been the first customer targeted this year and not more than a handful across Canada have been the focus of BDS campaigns in the past few years.
And in a nice twist, Klopp’s business has actually benefited from the BDS-hole bullying.
But things all changed a few weeks ago when a Jewish client wrote an e-mail to friends and family documenting the pressures on Klopp.
“People started flooding in that day,” she said.
“The show of support has been overwhelming … I cried every day for two weeks.”
On the day I visited her store, she said she was “sold out” of the actual models she carries.
“We can’t keep them in stock anymore,” Klopp said. “The BDS movement has been good for business.”
Ecoexistence can be found here.