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SodaStream changes labelling to ‘Made in the West Bank’ following human rights complaints

Written by Hazel Sheffield , The Independent   
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 10:14
www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/sodastream-changes-labelling-to-made-in-the-west-bank-following-human-rights-complaints-10157844.html

SodaStream has changed the labelling of products made in an Israeli settlement in the industrial zone of Ma’aleh Adumimm to ‘Made in the West Bank’ following complaints from a coalition of human rights activists in the US.

Fair trade activists complained to the Oregon Department of Justice in May 2014 that SodaStream was violating fair trade laws by labelling products made in occupied territory ‘Made in Israel’, according to a report by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Under Oregon’s fair trade laws, companies are banned from false advertising and can be held accountable for misleading packaging.

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SodaStream immediately said it would change its labelling when it found out about the complaints. The new labels have since appeared on SodaStream packaging in Oregon stores.

The EU recently began labelling products produced in Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank because the occupation is considered illegal under international law.

The Ma’aleh Adumim plant, which employs Palestinian workers, will move to Lehavim in Negev region of Israel later in 2015. The company has said the move is for ‘purely commercial’ reasons and not connected to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups.

SodaStream’s revenue has grown an average of 30 per cent a year since 2008, but the company forecast a 9 per cent drop in 2014 as American consumers shifted their interest to more health-conscious brands. In response, SodaStream is launching a line of flavoured waters with low calories and added vitamins and minerals.


 
 

SodaStream changes labeling to 'Made in the West Bank' due to action by Oregonians

Written by Haaretz   
Sunday, 05 April 2015 09:21
www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.650579

The manufacturer of home carbonation systems, which has been the target of anti-Israel boycotts, was accused of misrepresentation in the U.S. state of Oregon.

SodaStream, the Israeli manufacturer of home carbonation systems, has changed its product labeling to “Made in the West Bank” following complaints by human rights activists in the Unites States.

The company's main production facility is in the industrial zone of Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, where it employs Palestinian workers.

The facility's location has made SodaStream a target of the global anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and put the company at odds with European policies blocking the import of products made in West Bank settlements.

In May 2014, a coalition of human rights activists in the U.S. state of Oregon complained to the Oregon Department of Justice that the company was violating the state's Fair Trade Practices Act by labeling its products as “Made in Israel.”

The complaint was forwarded to SodaStream, which replied by saying that the labels would be changed to "Made in the West Bank" with immediate effect. The new labels have now begun appearing on SodaStream boxes in Oregon retail outlets, according to the International Middle East Media Center.

Oregon’s Fair Trade Practices Act is a consumer protection law that makes false representations and false advertising of a consumer product illegal. The Act also holds retail stores responsible if they knowingly sell a product that is “misrepresented.”

The coalition has also filed an official complaint with the U.S. Customs & Border Control Agency, on the grounds that the false labeling also violates U.S. Customs regulations. That complaint, filed in November 2014, is presently under investigation.

“This appears to be the first time that an Israeli settlement manufacturer has corrected its labels for products sold in the United States,” said activist Rod Such of the PDX Boycott Occupation Soda! Coalition based in Portland, Oregon.

"Many people of conscience refuse to purchase products made in Israel's illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, but in the case of SodaStream they were deceived by false labeling that claimed the products were produced within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.”

SodaStream announced last October that it would be closing its Ma'aleh Adumim plant in 2015 as part of a plan to boost growth.

“We are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said.

SodaStream's revenues and profit have plummeted recently due to weak sales of its home soda machines in the U.S. The drop has been attributed to a move among American consumers to healthier drinks, such as juices and teas.

 
   

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?

Written by Uri Avnery   
Friday, 03 April 2015 08:15
zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery


I MUST start with a shocking confession: I am not afraid of the Iranian nuclear bomb.

I know that this makes me an abnormal person, almost a freak.

But what can I do? I am unable to work up fear, like a real Israeli. Try as I may, the Iranian bomb does not make me hysterical.
Read more: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?

 
   

Skanner Editorial: Republicans’ Iran Meddling is Treason

Written by The Skanner News   
Thursday, 02 April 2015 20:53
www.theskanner.com/opinion/skanner-editorials/22559-editorial-republicans-iran-meddling-is-treason



"The White House seems to be rethinking America’s relationship with Israel. We agree. We should."


Written by The Skanner News
Published: 02 April 2015
http://www.theskanner.com/opinion/skanner-editorials/22559-editorial-republicans-iran-meddling-is-treason

In Switzerland, Secretary of State John Kerry has closed a deal with Iran that has observers wondering if he’ll win the Nobel Prize. The deal creates a framework to place strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program, bring Iran back into the international trading community. And it would bring us all one step closer to peace.

The Iran deal might be President Obama’s greatest achievement— second only to bringing the U.S. economy back from its near death experience, when it was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month.

It might boost U.S. credibility around the world and strengthen our hand in future negotiations.

But it almost failed.

Last week an administration official told the Wall Street Journal that Israel had been spying on the US-Iran negotiations since 2012. What’s more, the report says Israeli officials had been leaking sensitive information and encouraging Republican members of Congress to sabotage the negotiations.

Israel denies the allegations and House Speaker John Boehner says he knows nothing about it. But their actions tell a different story.
Read more: Skanner Editorial: Republicans’ Iran Meddling is Treason

 
   

When you stand with Netanyahu… Do you know what messages you are really sending?

Written by Gilbert Schramm   
Saturday, 21 February 2015 00:12

An open letter to Senators and Congressional Representatives nationwide:

On March 3rd, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak before a joint session of Congress. I’m sure that, you, like every other responsible elected representative in the country, knows what a divisive issue this has become. I wonder if you really understand though, all the messages that your presence at that event will send.

By merely being present in that historic chamber, you will not be making a casual appearance at your workplace. You will be giving credence to, and lending support to, a man who has become a symbol of intransigence and intolerance. You will be taking sides on a long list of highly controversial issues that I frankly doubt you fully understand. Read more: When you stand with Netanyahu… Do you know what messages you are really sending?

 
   

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