Israeli company SodaStream is closing down its West Bank factory, Bloomberg reports. Last month the company confirmed they were considering closing the factory, located in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, and consolidating operations at the company’s new Lehavim plant, near Beersheba—a decision which CEO Daniel Birnbaum called “purely financial,” and not related to ongoing calls to boycott the facility for operating within the West Bank (See: Scarlett Johannson controversy).
According to Bloomberg, the company is doubling down on the economic reasoning behind moving the controversial facility:
The decision is “purely commercial” and forms part of a “global growth plan” being initiated by Lod, Israel-based SodaStream, spokeswoman Nirit Hurwitz said today by e-mail.
Still, that ‘global growth plan’ can’t be hurt by moving their main plant to a less controversial site. Yet while BDS supporters will likely cheer the closure, the factory at one point employed 500 Palestinians from Ramallah, Jericho, and other neighboring villages, who will likely be displaced by the move. (A documentary released this spring offered a rare look inside the facility.)
In July, an Israeli-owned store selling SodaStream replacement parts in the U.K. shuttered after nearly two years of weekly protests against the shop.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.