Three comments on SodaStream and Scarlett
Johansson has given a clinic on how to stand up to bullies.
world is filled with people who preach love but are full of hate. They project
humility but are full of arrogance. They are consumed with passionate intensity
– but for the wrong things. They prostitute words and pervert values. They say
they are for peace, but their actions promote war.
Waters, the legendary Pink Floyd rocker, criticized Johansson for giving him
the wrong impression that she believed in truth, human rights and the law of
love. They are Comfortably Numb to truth, human rights and the law of love.
Under the guise of tolerance and humaneness many of them are really the most
intolerant of people. Under the guise of liberalism many of them are really the
most illiberal preachers of a fundamentalist philosophy.
Scarlett Johansson showed the proper response to these folks. When Oxfam wagged
its big moral finger at their global good-will ambassador, warning Johansson
that Oxfam opposes trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and that she
should reconsider her relationship with SodaStream if she knows what’s good for
her, it was Johansson who reconsidered her relationship with Oxfam. In a rather
stunning turn of events, it was she who terminated the relationship, citing “a
fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and
effect, this Scarlett said to Oxfam: “Frankly, I don’t give a damn.” What a
relief; what an inspiration.
of Israel are absurd.
(Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions) activist, Omar Barghouti, makes no
attempt to hide the true objective. As he asserts: “The right of Palestinian
refugees to return to the homes and lands from which they were displaced and
dispossessed in 1948.”
aside that the Palestinians are the only group in the world whose refugee
status is transmitted automatically to subsequent generations – that the
grandchild of a Palestinian refugee who might be a native-born accomplished and
wealthy citizen in any country in the world – can, nonetheless, be considered a
refugee by the United Nations: under that definition millions of Americans
whose grandparents escaped Europe could still be considered refugees;
aside that the reason many Palestinians became refugees in the first place was
that the Palestinian Arabs joined surrounding Arab states in a war of
extermination against the infant State of Israel in 1948, a war that they lost;
leave aside that Israel came into possession of the West Bank in the first
place because of a war of extermination that three Arab states launched against
Israel in 1967 and lost;
aside that the PLO launched a vicious war against Israeli civilians in the
heart of Israel that killed a thousand and maimed ten thousand – and lost – and
as a result of that – the security barrier and other security measures were
implemented; leave aside that they launched this war after rejecting President
Clinton's Camp David proposals, accepted by Israel – and that they rejected two
additional peace proposals primarily because they refuse to sign an
end-of-conflict provision that would settle all outstanding claims against
Israel once and for all; leave aside that every day Palestinians try to inflict
terror on Israel and that the reason they don't succeed is Israeli security
aside that Omar Barghouti, himself, is a graduate of Tel Aviv University and
the university resisted a world wide petition to expel him, upholding the
values of free thought and speech, awarding him a Masters degree in philosophy;
all that aside: the return of millions of Palestinians to Israel is code for
ending the State of Israel. It is anti-Israel venom wrapped in the honey of
human rights rhetoric.
who support boycotting Israel are often blinded by hatred. They single out
Israel as the world's worst oppressor. They do it to delegitimize Israel in the
eyes of the world. As a small country surrounded by enemies and dependent on
international trade, Israel is vulnerable to this pressure and Israel haters
hundred miles from the SodaStream factory there are millions of Syrian Arab
Muslim refugees; over a hundred thousand have already been killed. If you are a
humanitarian worker where would you advise Palestinians that they are better
off – Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, Cairo, Beirut, Riyadh, Tehran – or Ramallah?
this implies that Israel cannot do more to bring about a two-state solution; it
does not excuse Israeli wrongdoings. But frankly, the Palestinians, too, have
done many wrongs.
where is the context? Where is the proportionality? The Middle East is burning
with the fires of anti-Western, anti-democratic anti-humanitarian savagery,
torture and anarchy and SodaStream is the cause of all evil in the world and
the primary preoccupation of those who supposedly advocate for truth, human
rights and the law of love?
wonderful it is to sit in London and to boycott Israel, the only reliable
Western ally left in the Middle East. Oh what feelings of self-satisfaction and
high principle. There is no need to think about Palestinian excesses and
might look a bit different from Sdereot, but never mind. There are no good
Israelis and there are no legitimate Israeli concerns, so what do I care if
Israeli children cannot go to school because they are fired upon
indiscriminately by Palestinian terrorists? It is their own fault. Israel was
born in original sin and therefore, by definition, is the problem of every
boycotts are boycotts.
official position is that it is not in favor of boycotting Israel (despite troubling
reports that it is funding BDS organizations), only Israeli products that have
even the smallest connection to the West Bank. Scarlett Johansson pointed out
the hypocrisy of this position. She did not distinguish between partial
boycotts and BDS. She called it for what it is: A partial boycott is a boycott.
advocate for a policy of partial boycott is to speak the language of boycott.
It is to place yourself with those who call for boycotting all of Israel. It is
to give aid and comfort to Israel’s enemies. It is to legitimate the
delegitimizers. It also takes the Palestinians off the hook, as if they are
merely potted plants and not independent actors who could end this struggle
quickly if they really wanted to.
boycotts are also unworkable in practice. It is impossible to limit such a
boycott to products beyond the Green Line. More importantly, it often
undermines those who are in favor of compromise and coexistence – the very
thing that the partial boycotters say they want.
is a perfect example. Its main manufacturing plant is in Maaleh Adumim, which
under any conceivable arrangement will remain within the permanent borders of
Israel. SodaStream employs there approximately a thousand people. Five hundred
of them are Palestinians who receive equal benefits and equal pay. There is a
mosque on the premise.
Palestinian workers, themselves, do not want SodaStream boycotted. What is
Oxfam’s solution: To close down the factory and send five hundred well-paid
Palestinians into unemployment and poverty? If SodaStream were to pick up and
relocate would this would further the interests of the Palestinian workers, and
better promote coexistence and peace?
should we who believe in truth, human rights and love be doing? We should
continue to support and advocate for a two state solution. We should continue
to promote coexistence. We should continue to support those in Israeli society
who believe in territorial compromise and continue to urge them to make the
necessary compromises for peace. We should continue to support those in the
Palestinian community who believe in territorial compromise and continue to
urge them to make the necessary compromises for peace.
own an I-Phone made in China; if you wear high fashion made in Asian sweat
shops; if your home is heated with oil from Russia or the Persian Gulf, you may
want to reconsider these purchases first. They affect millions more people than
may also want to reconsider the next contribution to Oxfam.