The decision by the company, which sells its fizzy drinks maker in 45 countries, to move the plant to Lehavim in Israel’s southern Negev region was for “purely commercial” reasons and not connected to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its location, said SodaStream representative Nirit Hurwitz.
The actor Scarlett Johansson got caught up in a high-profile row over the factory earlier this year after agreeing to serve as SodaStream’s global brand ambassador – drawing fire from Oxfam, where she previously had a similar role.
The Hollywood star then cut ties with the charity, citing “a fundamental difference of opinion”. Oxfam opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“SodaStream’s announcement … shows that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is increasingly capable of holding corporate criminals to account for their participation in Israeli apartheid and colonialism,” said Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson.
“[The] BDS campaign pressure has forced retailers across Europe and North America to drop SodaStream, and the company’s share price has tumbled in recent months as our movement has caused increasing reputational damage to the SodaStream brand.”