Israeli soft drink company SodaStream has begun marking its products produced in the West Bank in response to pressure exerted by American activists.
“By request of consumers and retail partners, SodaStream recently began including the location of production, also on US packaging,” Yulia Ackerman, a spokeswoman for the carbonated drink company told The Times of Israel in a written reply.
The labels were changed to read “Made in the West Bank” following a complaint filed nearly a year ago with the Oregon Department of Justice, according to a report by the International Middle East Media Center, a collaboration between Palestinian and international journalists.
Two groups that advocate for boycotting products made in the West Bank accused SodaStream of violating the state’s Fair Trade Practices Act by labeling its products as “Made in Israel” when its main production plant is located in Mishor Adumim, an industrial zone just outside the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.
Oregon’s Fair Trade Practices Act is a consumer protection law that makes false advertising of a consumer product illegal.
The complaint was filed last May by the PDX Boycott Occupation Soda! Coalition and the Mid-Valley BDS coalition of Oregon’s Willamette River Valley. SodaStream is preparing to move from its West Bank headquarters.
“This appears to be the first time that an Israeli settlement manufacturer has corrected its labels for products sold in the United States,” Rod Such of the PDX coalition told the media center. “Many people of conscience refuse to purchase products made in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, but in the case of SodaStream they were deceived by false labeling that claimed the products were produced within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.”
SodaStream has long come under fire for producing its popular line of home carbonation machines in the West Bank. In October, the company announced it would close the Mishor Adumim factory and move it to Lehavim, in southern Israel. The move is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
“We have always been proud and transparent about our facility in Mishor (Adumim),” the written message sent to The Times of Israel continued, “however, irrespective of the political debate and due purely to economic considerations, we will complete the transition from this facility to our flagship site in Lehavim, Israel, during the next few months.”