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Scarlett Johansson's naive SodaStream defense

American actress Scarlett Johansson has become the center of controversy following the announcement that she is the new face of SodaStream, an Israeli company with a large factory in the West Bank.

Gabbot/FlickrCC

Scarlett Johansson. (photo: Gabbot/FlickrCC)

SodaStream produces domestic carbonation machines for making sodas at home, and has a large factory in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, located inside Ma’ale Adumim, the third largest settlement in the occupied West Bank. (This fact is conspicuously absent from its Wikipedia page). The company has both Palestinian and Israeli employees working in its West Bank factory, branding itself as an environmentally friendly, ethical alternative for soda lovers who want to do away with bottles –  and that is what Scarlett Johansson claims she loves so much about SodaStream and why she is now its first-ever “brand ambassador.”

Johansson has been under severe scrutiny and media attention from anti-occupation activists and advocates of the BDS movement. Both the The New Yorker and NY Magazine covered the controversy, the latter with the funny, if forced headline: “Guilt-Free Seltzer or Blood Bubbles?”  Robert Mackey who writes The New York Times’ Lede Blog has an excellent, detailed report, if you want to read more details.

I reckon the enormous media attention has partly to do with that fact that she is major eye candy and websites love to put her face on their home pages, no less than SodaStream does. Here is a hilarious meme I saw going around that I cannot resist but share.

Johansson did not respond to the criticism until Friday, after Oxfam- the international aid and development NGO for which she also happens to be an ambassador since 2007 – came out with a statement challenging her involvement with SodaStream (but stopped short of calling on her to step down). According to their statement:

Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

In her response, published on the Huffington Post and titled “Clearing the Air,” Johansson does not redeem herself nor indicate any plan to reconsider her contract with SodaStream. Instead, she reiterates the political line pushed by company CEO Daniel Birnbaum that SodaStream is a “fantastic sanctuary of coexistence and an example of peace in a region that is so troubled and so needs hope.”

Johansson writes that she supports “economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.” Palestine? What Palestine is she talking about? “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

Calling Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank who work for SodaStream “neighbors” with “equal rights” is beyond naive – it is insulting. Palestinians live under military rule, are not eligible to vote for the authorities that determine their lives, are subject to military rather than civilian courts, and experience systematic discrimination in every aspect of life.

The argument that settlement companies like SodaStream are OK because they employ Palestinians holds no weight, since the political reality of occupation does not allow Palestinian workers to make a free and informed choice regarding their livelihoods. This argument has already been made many times, and especially poignantly by Who Profits, an Israeli NGO that documents Israel’s occupation industry.

Johansson’s response sounds a lot like some Israeli settlers, who often argue that they live peacefully with Palestinians, and accuse “leftist” groups who come to protest and show solidarity of disrupting the peace. There are plenty of hippie settlers who make soaps and organic creams, and many of the free-range eggs sold in my supermarket in Jaffa come from settlements.

Even if an Israeli company is green, or treats its workers better than other establishments, it does not make up for the fact that it is situated on land held by force, whose native population is ruled against their will and demand an end to the occupation.

Is that really such a difficult concept to understand? It’s one thing for her not to actively engage in a boycott of Israeli settlements, for example, but quite another to actively use her celebrity status to endorse a settlement company. But the important thing to Johansson, apparently, is that this affair can “contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two-state solution in the near future.”

She clearly has no idea what is going on here, because the last thing needed is conversation and the most urgent thing needed is action.

Correction: This article has been amended to reflect that SodaStream’s headquarters is located in Airport City, inside Israel proper; its factory is located beyond the Green Line in Mishor Adumim. Listing offices and facilities in Airport City as official corporate headquarters is a fairly common tactic settlement-based companies use in order to circumvent settlement labeling requirements (and in order to qualify for favorable tariff and free-trade agreements). Read more about the practice here.

Related:
The writing on the wall: Boycott is top story in Israel’s No. 1 paper

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Khaled Khalid

      The name of the game here is “Normalization” of the Occupation. Like it’s a done deal and so on to Business and Usual. At least that’s what Sodastream and the Settlement enterprise would have you believe.

      It wasn’t accepted in South Africa with White Supremacy;
      it wasn’t accepted in occupied China with Japanese Troops;
      And it certainly wasn’t accepted in Europe when a certain right wing gangster tried to Normalize the persecution of “Der Juden.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Mr. Khaled Khalid, there is nothing like “der juden” (a German noun). Where did ya copy that from? (2) ‘Occupation’ is allowed under International law. See Article 51 of the United Nations Chatter. (3) Israel CANNOT and WILL NOT vacate an inch of Judea and Samaria until it is sure that what happened in 1967/1948 will not happen again. (4) If you try to achieve the Arab-goals of 1967/1948 through BDS, we will fight- and defeat you on the BDS-front as we defeated your fathers and forefathers before you on the battlefields. (3) Arab- and Jewish Israelis have the SAME rights. An Arab member of the Israeli Supreme Court was even one of the Justices that convicted sent a former criminal Jewish Israeli President to jail, etc. The comparison you make re South-Africa fails. (4) The US, GB still occupy Germany. The US still occupies Japan. Occupation is in- and of itself not illegal. Mere fact that occupation forced on the population does not make it illegal – something amazingly even Ms. Zonszein DOESN’T understand!

        Reply to Comment
        • un2here

          Israel attacked Egypt in -67, don’t do that again. Israel expanded it’s territory in from zero to current size in -48, expelling the larger part of the population in the process. Don’t do that again, it really really pisses some, if not most people off …

          Reply to Comment
          • Tony Riley

            Get real and stop telling lies. Israel was within its legal right to pre-emptively attack Egypt in 1967. Egypt had blockaded Eilat and thrown the UN out of the Sinai and was preparing to invade israel. Sodastream is on land that is currently within Israel and which will remain within Israel under any peace deal.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            According to historical IDF records, the attack on Egypt was planned, prepared and rehearsed for three years … You just thought you should know that this is public information.

            Reply to Comment
          • JB

            a)the fact that Israel was prepared for a defensive action with Egypt is irrelevant to the fact that Israel was justifiably defending against Egypt’s actions

            b) Israel retains zero claims to land that was controlled by Egypt at that time (Sinai/Gaza)

            c) Jordan joined the war against Israel on their own, and lost control of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Until then, Jordan denied Jewish and Christian access and defiled Jewish synagogues, graveyards and other religious sites.

            d) Jordan and Israel are not at war, and Jordan makes no claims to the territory they formerly controlled.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ariel

      Johansson writes that she supports “economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.” Palestine? What Palestine is she talking about? – “What Palestine is she talking about?”, how about the one that has representation in the UN, or the one you have in the third line of your “about” (“reporting and analysis of events in Israel and Palestine”), or the Palestine that you call to free.

      Now do you remember?

      It’s funny that Palestine exists in your eyes only when it serves you best politically, for some good-old-fashioned Israel bashing.

      Good job!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ariel

      “Johansson writes that she supports “economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.” Palestine? What Palestine is she talking about?”. “What Palestine is she talking about”? – How about the Palestine that has representation in the UN, or the Palestine that you report on, as stated in the “about” of your magezine (“on-the-ground reporting and analysis of events in Israel and Palestine”), or the Palestine that you continuously call to free.

      Now do you remember what Palestine she’s talking about?

      How come the existence of Palestine is subject to change when it serves for political Israel-bashing?! Either it exists or it doesn’t. Let’s stay consistent, eh?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      Ms/Mrs. Mairav Zonszein, you distort and lie about what Ms. Scarlett Johansson said. Johansson writes that “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.” Ms. Johansson is FACTUALLY CORRECT – completely: (a) SodaStream is committed to the environment; (b) SodaStream builds bridge to peace by employing both Israelis and Palestinians who are also neighbors (even though it is not obliged to do that); (c) it Palestinian employees of SodaStream earn more money than Palestinian government employees; (d) SodaStreem provides “equal rights” and “equal pay” to ALL its workers; (e) 95% of Palestinians live under Palestinian Rule and are eligible to vote in the Palestinian elections; (f). Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are also eligible to vote in E. J’lem municipal- and in PA-elections. If you dispute any of the statements of Ms. Johansson, honesty demands that you provide evidence. Your claim, inter alia, that Palestinians “experience systematic discrimination in every aspect of life” is on these grounds a LIE. Stop the cheap propaganda war against Israel, Mairav Zonszein. It makes you look creepy!

      Reply to Comment
      • Gearoid

        This is called whitewashing.

        Show a little honor. Do not lie.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Gearoid, everything I say is WELL documented. PLEASE fact-check me. Heck, use google. If you show that I am wrong on anything, I will retract the wrong statement and apologize. But you can’t do that, can you? And that’s the problem for BDS-leaders/supporters: they have no facts and as such they resort to fabrications, distortions and lies. They abuse International (Human Rights) Law in their effort to bring about the demise of the Jewish State Of Israel. Somehow they think that they are too clever and that the world too dumb to see through their evil machinations. So far, they have failed and they will continue to fail – as their lies and agenda and lies get exposed.

        Reply to Comment
      • Nick

        Ginger I invite to listen to Miko Peled (you tube) the general’s . You are the one trying to mask to most cruel ocupation on earth, we are Not stupid, we know exatly your sionist plan, that is already a failure!!!!! We the Arab-israeli soon gonna be the mayority in our country then will talk.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tony Riley

          Nick, all that Peled can teach us, is how to make a good living exploiting the Jew-haters.

          Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Nick, if you an Arab-Israeli as you say, then you are as Israeli as it can get. My advice to you: make use of all the opportunities provided to you by the State Of Israel and work hard for your own personal development and the good of Israel. Jewish Israelis DO go through hard times to make it. Only YOU can make it happen for you, no one else (Arab or Jewish). 80% of the world population don’t have the opportunities you have as an Israeli citizen. But first you must stop watching demagogues on youtube who make a living off the screed/”lecture”/diatribe they later post there, start thinking for yourself and stop fantasizing that Arabs could one day somehow become a majority in Israel and take over the country (and why would you even want that – remembering Gaza, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.?).

        Reply to Comment
    5. Ginger Eis

      Ms. Zonszein wrote: “Even if an Israeli company is green, or treats its workers better than other establishments, it does not make up for the fact that it is situated on land held by force, whose native population is ruled against their will and demand an end to the occupation”.

      Duh! Occupations are by definition enforce “by force” and “against the will of the native population” and is LAWFUL under International Law. See Article 51 United Nations Chatter. Ms. Johanson has nothing to apologize for, while the phony righteousness of Ms. Zonszein is unimpressive!

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Wow, you really know stuff. Is it also lawful to knock down their houses, drop garbage into their wells, drop computer-guided bombs on them (and to hell with the collateral damage) via a distant, comfy office, imprison and torture them without trial, detain and abuse their children also without trial, chop down trees that earn them their livelihood, enclose their cultivated fields in settlements they cannot enter, take pot-shots at them when they demonstrate peacefully, … and that’s just the tip of the wacking great iceberg? Oh great, let’s put the light out and go on doing it then!

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        “Sh”, remember suicide-bombers slaughtering thousands of children, women and men on the streets, pizzerias, discotheques, busses etc. in Israel and leaving even many more without limbs and/or wheelchair bound for life? Remember Jihadi-savages recruiting Palestinian juveniles to wear suicide belts and blow themselves up in Israeli supermarkets, etc.? Remember Hamas firing thousands of Grad rockets into civilian populations, while hiding in civilian homes, behind women and children? The list can go on ad infinitum. So, YES, Palestinian terrorist actions provides more than legitimacy for 99.9% of what the IDF does in the conflict with Palestinians. If you don’t agree, you must provide evidence for specific allegations. You do understand that slogans and clichés (such as “torture” with(out) trial, “dumping garbage in wells”, etc.) are NOT evidence.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Marcos

      Ginger, I really appreciate your good work here based on education and facts. Each time you school someone here, we see their true colors. You are patient, and do not reduce yourself to name calling. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ginger Eis

      The author wrote: “It’s one thing for her not to actively engage in a boycott of Israeli settlements, for example, but quite another to actively use her celebrity status to endorse a settlement company.”

      Well, remember Walter Rogers (rock band Pink Floyd)? The same people who hired and cheered him on when he used – nota bene – his “CELEBRITY STATUS” to boycott Israel and go around the world delegitimizing Israel and making anti-Semitic caricatures (according to ADL) of Jewish symbols are now outraged that others are using their “celebrity status” fight the fabrications and hatful accusations against the only Jewish State on earth. Now, that doesn’t make sense, dose it?

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        “remember Walter Rogers (rock band Pink Floyd)”
        His name’s Roger Waters.

        ” a Gentile defending the Gates Of Zion”
        Johansson’s Jewish.

        “BDS seeks the demise of a Jewish State of Israel”.
        The State of Israel isn’t Jewish.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Indeed, ‘Sh’, you doth reveal that you DON’T accept the so-called 2-state-solution: a Jewish State and an Arab State living side by side each other in peace and prosperity. So much for pretending to seek the implementation of International law. But the world is not fooled. In the meantime The JEWISH State Of Israel is a FACT and her existence will be defended – AT ALL COST! Anyone who cannot live with this basic truth is a proverbial dead-ender. Always remember that! (btw. I got Water’s name- and Johansson’s mixed race/ethnicity incorrect. I stand corrected with apologies. BUT my message remains loud and clear).

          Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >The State of Israel isn’t Jewish.

          That’s something new. So, Jews had created the state of Israel, somewhat successfully manage it for nearly 70 years, but the state is not Jewish.

          Than whose it is, for Christ’s sake?

          Reply to Comment
          • Well, since over 20% of the Population is NOT Jewish, it would be racists to call Israel “Jewish state”.

            I can live with the notion of “Homeland for the Jewish people and all it’s citizens” for example.

            But not “Jewish state”….

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Apparently it is NOT racist to have SEVERAL “Arab States /Republics”, “Islamic States/Republics” BUT racist to have one single Jewish State. Apparently it is NOT racist to demand a Jew-free-Palestine BUT racist to redraw the border to include SOME Arab-Israelis in an Arab Palestinian State. Why do people get all emotional and irrational when it comes to the Jews and Israel? (btw. that “over 20%” figure is incorrect and the argument based thereupon follows not).

            Reply to Comment
    8. Ginger Eis

      Finally the question was asked: “Is that really such a difficult subject to understand?” These are what Ms. Johansson understands: (1) The entire BDS-movement seeks the demise of the Jewish State Of Israel. (2) BDS-movement is NOT for peace and/or Human Rights and/or ending the “occupation”. (3) BDS-movement demands that millions of Arabs be returned to Israel, knowing that such will lead to the end of the Jewish State (civil-war and massacre of the Jews who would stay behind and not be able to flee to Europe, The US and elsewhere). (4) BDS hides behind slogans such as “apartheid”, “racism”, “ethnic cleansing”, “genocide”, “free, free Palestine. From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”, “justice”, etc. to trick people into supporting them. Ms. Johansson understand alls this. She is a brave lady – a Gentile defending the Gates Of Zion. And Jew are very proud of her. “Is that really such a difficult subject to understand?”

      Reply to Comment
    9. dana

      Israel isn’t a country…israelies should stop saying all the bullshit about them wanting peace…its like being a burglar that calls up for integrity and fairness…it was Palestinian and will always belong to the its native ppl ..the Palestinians who have every rite to fight anyone who approves the idea of occupation…most humans don’t understand this because it doesn’t mean them but they should try putting themselves in other ppls shoes and help the weak…so dear Sarlet…I personally was a big fan.. but too bad u can’t make right choices by choosing to support occupiers:S

      Reply to Comment
    10. richard witty

      I applaud sodastream for hiring Palestinian workers on a meritocratic basis.

      The boycott movement, when defining boycott on the basis of identity and not on behavior utterly violates my understanding of progressivism.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Kolumn9

      When a peace treaty is signed Sodastream will be praised as a pioneering model for coexistence and cooperation. That much is obvious.

      As such, attacks against Scarlett and Sodastream only make sense from the point of view that any coexistence and cooperation should be opposed. This point of view is usually motivated by the view that Jews have no place in the land of Israel and should be massacred or expelled. This was the underlying position of the original boycott of Israel by the Arab States and is still the position of the supporters of BDS.

      Scarlett has nothing to apologize for when facing such extremist criticism.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Ram

      It is shameful when an organisations main function is to create division. Not only do Sodastream’s Palestinian Arab workers appreciate their employer in every respect, but do ask every Arab Israeli citizen if they are prepared to become Palestinian citizens in a new Palestine. You will shocked to find out that hardly any, if at all, would wish to do so.

      We have to try and bring people closer, not encourage a great divide between them. Trying to delegittimize Israel with the hope of seeing it disappear will only create the opposite effect and a Palestinian population that will forever suffer under their corrupt leadership.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Sabbaselly

      Kudos to a brave and principled woman.

      Reply to Comment
    14. David

      Soda stream is providing employment to both Jews and Arabs . To criticise Scarlett and Soda Stream is to be against the people that soda stream employs..literally resenting the money that pays for their livelihood..all in the name of self righteousness .
      leave them alone..let them continue to succeed in bringinh harmony to that region without other peoples’s self righteous , holier than thou, sanctimoniousness putting their evil eyes on it .
      I wish Scarlett, Soda Stream and every employee every happiness and success in their endeavours .

      Reply to Comment
    15. Abdein

      Coexistence and Settlements are two opposite words. You can’t have both.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Pls. explain. Your position is worth discussing.

        Reply to Comment
    16. Rehmat

      According to the American plan negotiated between Kerry and Netanyahu, the Jordan Valley will be “leased” to Israel by the Fatah controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) for the next ten years, during which the Jewish occupied forces will withdraw gradually. This has been rejected by Mahmoud Abbas’ chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

      The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea make up approximately 30% of the West Bank and are the most significant Palestinian land reserves. Since 1967, Israel has pursued various measures to annex this territory de facto. It has prevented the development of Palestinian communities, systematically destroyed homes in Palestinian Bedouin communities, denied access to water and strictly limited Palestinians’ freedom of movement. At the same time, Israel has exploited the resources of the area for its own needs and has allocated generous tracts of land and water resources to illegal Jewish settlements.

      http://rehmat1.com/2013/12/29/israel-to-annex-jordan-valley/

      Reply to Comment
    17. Liveinpeace1111@yahoo.com

      Scarlett is Jewish, she doesn’t care about the Palestinians, she thinks they’re slaves and don’t deserve to have rights

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        In the coming weeks many celebrities (e.g. Justin Timberlake, etc.) are streaming to Israel (as they have been doing the past). Foreign government agencies are also on their way to Israel for diverse economic and defense contracts. Leading global Companies and Corporations in the areas of avionics and defense (Lockheed Martin), cyber security, etc. are also heading towards Israel, etc. They are not Jewish. For what it’s worth, Ms. Johansson’s father is Danish. Her mother is Jewish. Her Jewishness or Ms. Johansson, like most people, doesn’t see BDS as solution to Arab-Israeli conflict. That does not make her racist or evil. That said, (a) in what way(s) are Palestinians treated like “slaves” and (b) which human rights of the Palestinians exactly are being denied them (as you claim)?

        Reply to Comment
    18. M Klein

      This author has more naïveté than her accusation of Ms. Johansson.
      Let’s put aside any political thought for just one moment and ask whether shutting down the sodastream facility would harm or benefit the Palestinian population that relies on it’s jobs there to support their family?
      When you finally start thinking about the benefits brought to a people in a difficult situation, and focus on creating and fostering cooperation, sustenance and prosperity, then and only then will there be a real solution to the problems in the region.
      These silly talks of boycott and one directional finger pointing are what keeps peace from taking root.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Just Ice

      The apartheid state will never win. It is comical reading these comments written by zionists. It is like you are all obsessed and brainwashed. The evil and lies you are spouting out you have clearly learnt at school. You have no clue what terror the Zionist occupation is causing. The state of Israel have no respect for International Law, Gentiles and basic humanity. The world is waking up BDS will succeed and is succeeding. What black hearts the zionists have and such denial you all live in. Is it not a wonder why history has happened the way it has? You have to respect and learn to live with people from around the world. Peace and one day Palestine will be free.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tony Riley

        Be real. The only apartheid states in the region are Arab.

        Reply to Comment
    20. Chad

      “Palestinians live under military rule,”

      No, they do not. In Gaza, they live under Hamas, rule, in the West Bank, they live under Fatah rule, elected by their own. Israel’s military presence in for security purposes only.

      “are not eligible to vote for the authorities that rule over their lives”

      False. They voted for their own Palestinian leadership.

      “are subject to military rather than civilian courts”

      False. They are subject to military courts with regard to terrorism. The PA has their own court system for their people.

      “and experience systematic discrimination in every aspect of life.”

      Not sure what to say. They are a people without a nation. Refugees. That is exactly how the Arab countries have wanted them – as a lifelong pawn against Israel.

      “…the fact that it is situated on land held by force”

      No, it was land captured in a defensive war started by Syria & Egypt, and joined by Jordan and Iraq.

      “whose native population is ruled against their will”

      They voted their current PA administration, again.

      “and demand an end to the occupation.”

      Yes, but only after 1967. When those lands were held by Egypt and Jordan, there was no demand for a Palestinian State. Ever since the Peel Commission of 1936-1937, there have been multiple opportunities for an Arab-Palestinian state on current disputed land. Each time, the Arabs/Palestinians have rejected it outright.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Scarlett Johansson says she wants a 2 state solution. Unfortunately the Israeli government doesn’t. This is demonstrated by its continuous building of new settlements. The only reason Israel is even bothering to go through the motions of peace talks is to APPEAR interested in peace and stave off the BDS movement.

      Scarlett Johansson has a real opportunity to make a difference IF she does some homework and get better informed on the issue. I elaborate on this in my open letter to her.

      http://themessinglink.com/ScarlettJohansson

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Robin, I beg to differ. I think Ms. Johansson did her homework very well and found out the following:
        1. The settlements in Judea and Samaria occupy less than 4% (i.e. FOUR percent!!) of the entire Judea and Samaria and can hardly constitute an obstacle to peace.
        2. Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians their own State on 96% of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. Arafat rejected the offer.
        3. Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians 100% of Judea and Samaria, huge parts of Jerusalem and gave up Jewish sovereignty over Judaism’s Holiest site. Abbas rejected the offer.
        Thus these settlements aren’t the reason for the absence of peace. They are the excuse. Maybe you have to do your homework, no?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger, I have done my homework. I don’t have time to answer all your points, but let’s look at your 4% figure. 4% sounds like such a tiny amount, but often little things can have big consequences. If you are bitten by a cobra, the percent of additional fluid added to your bloodstream is tiny–less than a tiny fraction of 1%. Yet it can kill you. A small mass of viruses can kill you. A tiny number of cells blocking a key artery can kill you.

          The key question is not what percent of land is under settlement, but what is the distribution pattern of the settlements, and how does this distribution pattern and the infrastructure needed to support it affect conditions.

          This article by Lara Friedman addresses how the settlements have an impact way beyond what you would expect from their small footprint

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-friedman/israel-settlements-_b_1197376.html

          I’ve seen an even better article, but I’m having trouble finding it now. Maybe I’ll post it later if I can find it. In the meantime,I suggest you get bit by a cobra before implying that 4% is a tiny figure that has little significant impact.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Robin, the settlements are where they are to prevent what the Arabs tried- but failed to achieve in 1948 and 1967 from ever happening and to overcome the nightmares of “Auschwitz-borders”. INDEED, these security-settlements are deadly poison to any future plans to achieve the failed objectives of 1948 and 1967 wars. Palestinians understand this very well and oppose it. Do you?

            If the problem is ‘contiguity of the territory of a future Palestinian State, I am sure that fine minds on both sides will find effective and efficient solutions that meet the goals territorial contiguity serves, (as will be re Gaza).

            Reply to Comment
      • Marcos

        Robin, the BDS movement is against the one state solution. So your letter is a joke. Secondly, do not for one second that fear of BDS is motivating Israel to negotiate for peace. The desire for pease is causing the negotiations. Given that Israel twice has uprooted all settlements from occupied territory, it’s a little willfully ignorant on your part to claim that settlements are an barrier. But keep writing, I can use a good laugh at your expense

        Reply to Comment
        • There can be multiple flavors of BDS, just as there can be multiple flavors of Zionism. The Israeli government SAYS it wants peace, but EVERYONE says they want peace. But by its actions, the Israeli government has shown that it is not negotiating in good faith. As Ehud Olmert said, “A government which announces the construction of 5,000 new housing units is not conducting serious negotiations for peace.”

          http://www.timesofisrael.com/olmert-pms-attack-us-policies-misguided/

          I discuss this in more detail here

          http://themessinglink.com/NuclearWeaponFreeIranAct

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Robin, the comparison you make between Zionism and BDS doesn’t follow. BDS demands economic action to bring about the collapse of the Jewish State and its replacement with “Palestine”. The goal of BDS is thus clear, unequivocal and doesn’t lend itself to multiple interpretations. As such, the “multiple flavor” analogy does not make sense, (and may justify accusation of disingenuousness, i.e. having one thing in mind, while saying something different to others) . Said BDS-goal is epitomized in the BDS-anthem/BDS-motto: “Free, free Palestine. From the RIVER to the SEA, Palestine will be free”! Ms. Johansson does not support that. The US, Canada, Europe, China, Japan, South-America, Australia, Africa, the UN as an institution, many good Muslims around the world, etc. don’t support that. Do you?

            Reply to Comment
          • Nothing is to prevent individuals from adapting the BDS technique to their own style. Nothing is to prevent organizations from modifying BDS to suit their own purposes. A song does not have to be played only one way. Though he doesn’t endorse the full BDS, for example, Peter Beinart IS in favor of boycotting goods from the West Bank. What is to prevent individuals or organizations from adopting, and encouraging others, to say take a BDS position until Israel stops building settlements and starts taking serious action against the right wing Price Tag thugs? Absolutely nothing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Robin, what do YOU support? This is a ery simple question. Obfuscating and stonewalling won’t get you off the hook. What do YOU support, Robin?

            BTW, isn’t it hilarious that you now drag in ‘price-tag-attacks’ (from over-exuberant youths) to justify BDS. If your standard for economic, cultural and academic boycott of other countries is ‘petty crimes’ committed by individuals (such as the “right wing Price Tag thugs”), why then do you single out Jews and the State Of Israel? Aren’t even more petty crimes committed on even larger scale in other countries by individuals? I am sure you would like to explain this to avoid misconceptions, no?

            Reply to Comment
    22. Dave Downunder

      Millions of people are dying around the world. Real apartheid countries oppress and torture people and make Gaza and the West Bank look like pretty good places. No-one cares. And all you people can do is focus on a company that employs human beings no matter who or what they are. Some perspective please.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Hostage

      Article 28 of the Hague rules of 1907 says that “The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited.”

      U.S. citizens, like Scarlett Johansson can be prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 2441 – War crimes if they are part of a joint criminal conspiracy, whether inside or outside the United States, to commit that particular crime.

      Israel has converted stolen land in the occupied territory for the private use of its citizens.

      Raphael Lemkin gave an explanation for anyone who actually needs one:

      6. The Problem of the Colonists.

      The problem of the colonists is specific because many thousands of them have been settled on properties of dispossessed persons. The fact that many of them, especially those coming from the Baltic States, Transylvania, and Bukovina, were moved against their will, may exclude their penal responsibility in assisting the enemy in acts of dispossession but does not provide any valid title to the property on which they are settled. In cases where colonists have been settled on state property, the legal situation remains the same. The occupant has the right only to the usufruct of real property belonging to the state in the occupied country; he has no right to dispose of such property and convey title to it to other persons. Consequently, the property given by the occupant to the colonists should be returned to the original owners.

      See “Property”, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe,page 45

      See James G. Stewart, Corporate War Crimes: Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resource –http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/pillage-manual-2nd-edition-2011.pdf

      Corporate War Crimes [Trials] Begin http://opiniojuris.org/2013/11/14/corporate-war-crimes-begin/

      Punish Companies That Pillage http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/opinion/punish-companies-that-pillage.html?_r=0

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        I shall reply to your post in two separate parts. Here is part 1: BEFORE Israel took (back) possession of Judea and Samaria in 1967, land-ownership there was regulated by Ottoman and British Mandate Laws (since 1517 AD). AFTER 1967, Israel continued to apply these laws. Palestinians who claim that their lands have been illegally expropriated from them can- and do EXTENSIVELY petition the Israeli Supreme Court to recover the lands they claim. The Supreme Court renders its Ruling in accordance with aforementioned laws and based on evidence provided. The Palestinians win if their cases are founded, or otherwise lose. When you claim that “Israel has stolen land”, fairness require you to provide evidence and argue the law based on said evidence. So far you have NOT done that. Surely you would like to do so? Begin by defining a “country”, which “country” Israel occupies, what makes a Palestinian the “owner” of lands he/she has no “private ownership” of, etc.

        Reply to Comment
        • andrew r

          http://972mag.com/prawer-plan-may-not-be-shelved-after-all/83792/

          I laid out one process here by which Israel openly, literally stole land by quarantine of its owners in a closed military zone, taking possession on the grounds of development or security and then transferring ownership to the govt. without notifying the previous owner in advance. This is a clear abuse of the Ottoman regulation.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            No, Andrew, neither here nor in the link you provided have you made the case of “stealing”. “Stealing” is a LEGAL term. It means (a) taking away (b) something which is (c) lawfully owned by another (d) with the intention to process it yourself. What do you need to do? (1) you must explain which SPECIFIC land Israel took away; (2) you must name SPECIFIC individual(s) said land belongs to and backup that claim with VERIFIABLE evidence; (3) you must point out SPECIFIC provisions of the property-law that in your opinion has been violated; (4) you must demonstrate how Israel violated that law by (4a) unlawfully setting it aside or (4b) applying it in a wrong manner. You have NOT done that. Political opinion is NOT legal argument. Surely you won’t decline a challenge to do so now, no?

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            (2) you must name SPECIFIC individual(s) said land belongs to and backup that claim with VERIFIABLE evidence;

            Before I waste my time here, do you consider citations in a peer-review journal of the Official Gazette and court rulings to be verifiable evidence, or do I actually have to become fluent in college-level Hebrew, fly to Israel, make my own scans of these items and upload them to pass your criteria of VERIFIABLE? Something tells me the answer is “not even then”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            I most definitely consider Court Rulings (one of) the best evidence there is. Peer-review journals in conjunction with the citations therein are not evidence (though they may be used support legal arguments). Lastly, I would never consider any effort you make, no matter how small, a waste of time. With the exception of a few, most people on this site, you included, do really make very thoughtful comments. Such is highly appreciated.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Here is Part2. (1) Palestinian-employees of SodaStream are paid MORE than many Jewish Israelis working inside Israel proper. They OWN homes, family cars, can send them to good schools, etc; (2) Israel builds modern infrastructure and highways in Judea and Samaria for the use of ALL; (3) Israel provides the Palestinian population with water and electricity. (4) Yearly Israel transfers hundreds of millions of dollars to the PA; (5) Israel brought about the “donor-industry” that yearly transfers billions of dollars to the PA. The donor-money thus received is higher than the GDP of several Asian/African nations COMBINED! (7) As a result, the Palestinian Elite and their relatives have become BILLIONAIRES (with villas in major European capitals), while poor you struggle to make ends meet, etc. Where then is the “pillaging of towns and places” you accuse Israel of? Surely you would like to explain yourself, no?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Correction with apologies re: “They OWN homes, family cars, can send them to good schools, etc;”

          Correct is:
          They OWN homes, family cars, can send their children to good schools, etc.;

          Reply to Comment
    24. Jeremy

      It’s pretty ridiculous you guys comment in such a way about such a top. Superimposing a political ideology and strategy that completely trivializes the labor going into these machines. Never mind the “slave” labor that went into building the soda stream, 972 would rather take any opportunity to shit on Israeli society. I used to admire 972 as an objective perspective, however, have realized they never post anything positive and I would dare to say even contribute more to the conflict in itself. Grow up guys and post something meaningful for once before you become another Mondoweiss

      Reply to Comment
    25. Kurd

      If you care so much about Palestinians, Mairav, why don’t you leave occupied Jaffa and return back to the Western country you are from.

      Reply to Comment
    26. bmorejoe

      “Even if an Israeli company…treats its workers better than other establishments, it does not make up for the fact that it is situated on land held by force, whose native population is ruled against their will…”

      Where is this not true? Where in the US is this not true?

      Reply to Comment
    27. concerned

      Really are people so stupid?
      The very root and origin of this company is illegal .
      You cant just invade in to some country and establish a company there and employ people and say look we are doing good while forgetting that you have displaced millions of them and they are living in refugee camps and in apartheid .
      she will naturally be with the hollywood jewish community and she proved she does not stand with humanity or any humanitarian organization . she is paid by jewish hollywood she has their support .Just boycott every her movie and turn off the tvs when this ad is aired and when you visit a mall that sells this SS remind the owner of the mall that this is a illegal product .

      Reply to Comment
    28. David

      The more I read about the situation, the more I believe Scarlett is correct in her stance.
      It is silly to believe that Soda Stream is out of line. It is a company that is working to build bonds between people. They seem to be doing an excellent job at doing just that.
      And the Palestinians who want peace are much better off in an occupied area of Israel vs. living under authoritarian governments like most muslims do in the middle east. They are free to vote, go to school and to speak their minds. (Unfortunately, they are taught from birth to hate Jews – who are the “evil” people now? – and to think of Jews as less than human.)
      Israel is being attacked every day by extremist militants from all over the world who back extremist Palestinians.
      Missles are shot into Israeli cities and communities daily.
      Israel has a right to defend itself against these malicious and unconscionable attacks. Once those attacks stop, then it will be easier to put more pressure on Israel to give the Palestinians more rights.
      Kudos to Scarlett and to Soda Stream. Continue to fight for human rights throughout the world.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Anarco Soma (@zeroxcliche)

      I basically think that Israel is in a process of dividing the west bank into about 5 or so Gaza sized enclaves for cheap labor and as permanent hostages. That being said if Sodastream is engaging with Palestinians on the ground in a progressive way I don’t think they should be told to not do that til there is piece because they ain’t going to happen – if the conditions in the factory are good I think this is a good idea – in fact progressive forces in Israel should be reaching out in real material ways as a counter to Zionist settlers. PC shouldn’t overrule reality

      Reply to Comment
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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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