SodaStream, the Israeli home carbonation system maker whose operation of a factory in a West Bank settlement has drawn criticism and calls for boycott, is reportedly considering moving the controversial plant and consolidating operations at the company’s new plant near Beersheba, JTA reports.
According to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, any potential move would be for financial reasons (the company gets a government subsidy at the Beersheba plant) and wouldn’t be a response to pressures from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which has zeroed in on SodaStream as a prime target. Birnbaum reportedly brushed off boycott threats—which, in the case of their recently-shuttered U.K. store, took the form of daily protests—as a “nuisance” in an interview with an Israeli financial publication.
“The considerations will be purely financial, and do not include the European boycott on manufacturing in the territories,” he told the Marker. “Nor will they include the various calls to boycott products of the company because of its location in Maale Adumim. The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage. We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionists.”
The company will make a decision about the move in the next two months.
A documentary released this fall offered viewers an unprecedented look inside the factory, which at the time employed 500 Palestinians from Ramallah, Jericho, and other surrounding villages.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.