by Gary Willig
'I am proud to be Israeli, and so I put my flag on 50 million products manufactured in Israel.'
Jewish, Arab workers in Sodastream factory
The picture of the flag will be accompanied by the caption: "This product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony."
SodaStream voluntarily decided to take the step of featuring the Israeli flag on the packaging of its products, despite the risk of backlash from the BDS movement.
SodaStream International CEO David Birnbaum said: "Israeli industry is a symbol of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. As a proud Israeli company, we make sure to keep our Israeli identity at a high profile, even if it means fighting on the home front across the EU and against the economic terrorism of the BDS movement. In recent years, we Israelis have found ourselves attacked, forced to apologize, and [our products] seized around the world. We Israelis may not be perfect, but we have much to be proud of, and we decided to show it - both for ourselves and for the world."
"I am proud to be Israeli, and so I put my flag on 50 million products manufactured in Israel and bring a line of exceptional innovation and social responsibility [to the world]. I wish that every company which exports [from Israel] would put the Israeli flag on its products, whether it be tomatoes, computer chips, or irrigation pipes. And I wish that every one of us who goes abroad would feel safe to be a proud ambassador of the State of Israel."
SodaStream, which produces home carbonation machines which allow consumers to carbonate their own beverages as opposed to buying soft drinks, was the subject of a fierce BDS campaign following the hiring of actress Scarlett Johansson as an ambassador for the organization. Johansson submitted her resignation to Oxfam, a British NGO for which she also served as an ambassador, after it demanded that Johansson cut all ties with SodaStream over a factory it operated in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone of Ma'aleh Adumim. Mishor Adumim is at the edge of the Judean Desert, and the factory employed hundreds of Palestinian Arabs, but BDS caused it to move to the Negev where it now employs hundreds of Bedouin.
Oxfam later admitted that it had lost "thousands of donors" over its spat with Johansson.
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