Israeli Politicians Hold Meeting To Deal With Growing Boycott and International Sanctions

100px-Coat_of_arms_of_Israel.svgsuper-bowl-ad-sodastreamThe decision to go forward with the ad featuring Scarlett Johansson for SodaStream reignited the controversy over the boycott movement targeting Israeli companies, particularly those like SodaStream in the occupied territories. It was an interesting decision of the company. While marketers often view any publicity as good publicity, the Superbowl controversy has made the company the most visible target of the boycott movement. The success of that movement appears to have been confirmed in a planned meeting of Israeli politicians and business leaders to discuss how to control the damage to the economy, particularly with peace talk faltering with the Palestinians. The Israeli government also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for merely noting that calls for boycotts are likely to increase if these talks fall.

Many have raised the legitimate question of why Israel is the focus of such a growing boycott when counties like China, Syria, and Iran are not similar targets. Of course, the argument over the focus on Israel would only tend to argue for broader boycotts rather than dropping the one against Israel. However, advocates also note that companies like SodaStream hire Palestinians and that those workers support the company.

However, the boycott does appear to be having an impact. One the latest blows came from Norway’s Finance Ministry which directed its $810 billion sovereign wealth fund to blacklist two Israeli firms “due to contribution to serious violations of individual rights in war or conflict, through the construction of settlements in east Jerusalem.”

In addition, the European Union is moving to block funding to some Israeli organizations working in the territories.

Yet, Israel proceeded last week to demolish 36 homes in the Jordan Vally, leading to a public criticism by James Rawley, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

This backdrop makes the SodaStream controversy all the more interesting. The company wanted to make a pitch in the biggest market of the year but succeeded in putting itself front and center over the boycott. Its spokesperson, Scarlett Johansson, was basically shown the door by Oxfam, and now the product is linked with alleged violations of international law. I cannot believe that that is a good thing in the long run and it raises the question of whether the company would have been better to keep a lower profile. Replacing a dig at Coke and Pepsi with the tagline “I just love helping people” is likely to be viewed as a tragically ironic twist in the midst of complaints over international law violations.

SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum is quoted as saying “With this Super Bowl commercial, we are presenting a challenge to the American People. You can make your own soda at home that is better for you and the planet.” That is not likely the challenge that is viewed as coming out of this commercial controversy.

Putting aside the alleged violations of international law and the legitimacy of the boycott, there remains one problem with the commercial that should unite us all: it was really bad. It was not funny or creative — though that seemed to fit in with the rest of a disappointing crop of commercials for those of us who look forward to the competition among ad companies.

15 thoughts on “Israeli Politicians Hold Meeting To Deal With Growing Boycott and International Sanctions”

  1. finally people are beginning to realize that isael is behind a lot of what is happening. not just there in israel but here in america also…. beginning with their duel citizenship status…

  2. What a bunch of Israeli apologists! Certainly we target Saudi Arabia too, & most of us do just that but quit wining & wriggling because you think that propaganda machine, the ADL, will target you as anti-semetic. Its time the bully state with nukes, the racist, religious persecutionist state was exposed & publicly flogged for its human rights abuses!

    1. Darren The point of the boycott is that homes and property were stolen from their long term owners by this company. It is illegal under the rules of warfare to make such permanent thefts of the conquered people. The Israelis have insisted that property taken by the Nazis be returned or compensation be paid. So I see that what is good for Jews is also good for Palestinians. The ultimate settlement of property and housing claims will have to be addressed in any peace agreement and that will be very tough and expensive since the Israelis have stolen massive amounts of Palestinian property.

      The only means of redress the Palestinians have is to hit such thefts and companies by economic means. That is why I support this boycott. I do not support a larger boycott of Israel for any actions that they take against Hamas in Gaza. I only wish them good hunting there.

  3. I find it difficult to accept the proposition that the location of Mr. Birnbaum’s company was uninfluenced by political considerations. But then, I also have difficulty accepting the notion of a democratic theocracy. Nor am I impressed by the fact that SodaStream employs Palestinians. American companies have provided employment for many people in east Asia over the past thirty years, but that is not necessarily evidence of sound policy making. A boycott is a perfectly rational response. If Mr. Birnbaum cannot make a go of it, perhaps he can find a group of Palestinian investors willing to purchase the business.

  4. I don’t see that this pop company is doing the bidding of the Israeli Government. They are just trying to run a business. One needs to recognize also if any company is boycotted because of what the government of their area is doing, it hurts the employees of that company who are just ordinary people trying to make a living for their themselves and their families. I cannot imagine this company making weaponry to use against the Palestinians.

  5. ” The Palestinians are going the way of the American Indian. They will be third class people in their own homeland. ”

    Their own homeland? Jordan is their own homeland. So says the charter of Trans-Jordan. So says Jordan’s own leaders:

    “We are the Government of Palestine, the army of Palestine and the refugees of Palestine.”
    — Prime Minister of Jordan, 23 August, 1959

    “Palestine and Transjordan are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan the hinterland of the same country.”
    — King Abdullah, at the Meeting of the Arab League, Cairo, 12 April, 1948

    “Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine; there is one people and one land, with one history and one and the same fate.”
    — Prince Hassan, brother of King Hussein, addressing the Jordanian National Assembly, 2 February, 1970

    “There should be a kind of linkage because Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people.”
    — Farouk Kadoumi, head of the PLO Political Department, quoted in Newsweek, 14 March, 1977

    “The new Jordan, which emerged in 1949, was the creation of the Palestinians of the West Bank and their brothers in the East. While Israel was the negation of the Palestinian right of self-determination, unified Jordan was the expression of it.”
    — Sharif Al-Hamid Sharaf, Representative of Jordan at the UN Security Council, 11 June, 1973

  6. I agree about the quality of the ad. When you use a celebrity like Snickers did w/ Betty White and Abe Vigoda it’s clever. The Arnold and Scarlett Ads were unimaginative and just stupid.

  7. While there are a lot of other countries that should be boycotted, Israel deserves to be on the list.

  8. You can buy litre bottles of club soda and carbonated water for a buck a litre. Then take specialty syrups used in cocktail making, like Roses Live Cordial, and make your own sodas. You don’t need this contraption which will probably be used for a little while and either break or find a place in the back of the cupboard. You probably need gas canisters.

    We need to stop buying all this crap and use our heads. Boycott everything from Israel? It won’t matter. The Palestinians are going the way of the American Indian. They will be third class people in their own homeland. There may be violence along the way, but for each act of violence the Israeli position grows stronger. With each year without violence, the argument grows dimmer and dimmer. Israel is this year’s pariah. They came they saw and they are conquering.

  9. It might be rather nice to -NOT- demolish those homes, but simply move those illegal settlers out – it just looks REALLY spiteful – very childish !

  10. Boycott Israel for human rights violations? If this boycott and it’s supporters are serious about human rights I am waiting for a boycott of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others in the Middle East that oppress their citizens generally and women and nonMuslims in particular. Let’s highlight human rights violations where ever they occur. On the other hand, maybe there is another agenda here?

    Just to be clear Israel has made some mistakes, some serious mistakes but lets not pretend they are the worse or even close with some of the other violators in the area. How about we boycott the entire Middle East until they all get their act together. We could use the money right here.

  11. The reason I support the boycott is that unlike the other countries named, Israel is taking other countries land by force and against the UN resolutions. Just as I supported the UN military action in the First Gulf War, I think that the boycott is a reasonable response to Israel flouting international laws and UN resolutions. It will have the Israelis having to face the choice of getting serious about negotiations. or facing more such actions against not only companies in the West Bank, but after time, extending it to all of Israel. Since the prospects for cutting off all aid to Israel is slim to none by Congress, this is one way ordinary people can apply force to make Israel live up to the provisions of the Oslo Accords.

    I do not and will not support any boycott made because of Israeli actions against Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is worth no more than a bullet in them, and I hope the Israelis use more of them

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