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.
We, the undersigned organizations, commend Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer for asking House Speaker John Boehner to cancel an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Blumenauer has stated that if the speech is not cancelled, he will refuse to attend. We implore all the members of Congress from Oregon to follow his example.
Our objections to the Netanyahu invitation go beyond the fact that: a.) This invitation is a breach of protocol, b.) It is a stunt timed just prior to a very close Israeli election and c.) It is an attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to embarrass President Barack Obama.
The most serious objection to the invitation is that Netanyahu is attempting to scuttle negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program by urging Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran. As Rep. Blumenauer states, the only solution in the best interests of all countries is a negotiated settlement. Why would Mr. Netanyahu be invited to thwart that effort? World leaders also recognize the danger of his address as interference with the diplomatic process and are also imploring that he not interfere.
Additional sanctions risk an end to the diplomatic path and an increase in tensions between our country and Iran that may lead to war. As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is under routine inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has never documented any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Iran has called for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapons-free zone. In contrast, Israel has never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and is known to possess nuclear weapons.
Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress is also reprehensible in view of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza this past summer. Three respected human rights organizations—Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights—have issued reports finding Israel guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians during its 51-day bombardment. Under Netanyahu’s government, Israel has continued unfettered settlement expansion and land confiscation, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. It continues to imprison Palestinians by using administrative detention laws that lack due process. It is unconscionable to invite a leader with such a dismal human rights record to address the U.S. Congress.
In short, Netanyahu’s speech is not in the best interests of the United States or of world peace. We, the undersigned, urge you to boycott the speech and speak out in opposition to any leader of a foreign nation seeking to intervene in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
Americans United for Palestinian
Human Rights, Corvallis/Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, Individuals for Justice, Jewish
Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Lutherans
for Justice in the Holy Land, Mission of the Atonement Holy Land Ministry, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Tree of Life Educational Fund-
West Coast, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis chapter), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and Linus Pauling Chapter.
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?
"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
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
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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