Sodastream, which distributes its seltzer-making apparatus and syrups in 45 countries around the world, has nothing to hide – and in fact, the company wants customers to know all about their product. From now on the company will be displaying a large Israeli flag on the side of its boxes – with a note saying that “this product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony.”
The move is completely voluntary on the part of SodaStream; it is also the first time an Israeli firm is placing a flag on its product. The company has been the target of boycotts numerous times in the past, said SodaStream chairman Daniel Birnbaum, and it was common knowledge that the product was made in Israel – so there was no reason to hide the fact.
“Israeli technology is a watchword in the world for entrepreneurship and technological innovation,” said Birnbaum. “We have always made sure to maintain our Israeli identity, including in the face of opposition to Israel in the EU, and the economic terror of BDS groups. In recent years, Israelis have found themselves the subject of attacks and boycotts all over the world. We Israelis may not be perfect, but we have a great deal to be proud of. We decided to show this off – to the rest of the world, and to ourselves.”
SodaStream products are currently made in a large facility in the Negev, after moving to that location about four years ago, after an organized boycott of the company’s products over the fact that they were manufactured in Mishor Adumim, located over the Green Line. Birnbaum said at the time that he attempted to resist the move, saying that the factory in Mishor Adumim provided a living for hundreds of Palestinian families in the area. Those Palestinians were replaced by Negev residents, many of them Bedouin, when the facility moved, as the Palestinians from the former area did not have work permits to travel to the new facility in Israel proper.
Birnbaum said that the Israeli flag would be placed on all of the company’s products, 50 million of which are on store shelves worldwide at any one time. “We hope that every Israeli company does the same for the products they sell, whether it is a microchip, a tomato, or a watering system. We wish that everyone would feel comfortable being an ambassador for Israel.”