SodaStream Super Bowl ad buy has BDS movement’s eye


SodaStream's purchase of a Super Bowl commercial has the BDS movement in the U.S. saying it will step up its campaign against the Israeli firm.

Soda Stream, the maker of home soda machines, will pay about $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for the game. The company reportedly had net earnings of $27.5 million in 2011, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. boycott, divestment and sanctions movement said it will step up its opposition to SodaStream in light of the Super Bowl ad buy.

The company’s main plant is in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli industrial zone next to Maale Adumim in the West Bank, which has recently been in the news over the planned construction of 3,000 housing units in the E1 corridor connecting Maale Adumim to Jerusalem.

SodaStream has been in the United States for four years, but in that time has only penetrated the market to 1 percent of households. By contrast, the company has had great success in Europe, according to AP.

“The new SodaStream publicity blitz has given the U.S. boycott, divestment, sanctions movement a marvelous opportunity to bring our campaigns targeting settlement products to a new, unprecedented level of visibility and success,” Anna Baltzer, an organizer of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, told AP. “It’s time to burst SodaStream’s bubble. There’s nothing environmentally friendly about military occupation.”

Last month, a SodaStream television commercial was banned in the United Kingdom for “disparaging” other soda manufacturers. The ad shows soft drink bottles exploding as people use the machine at home to carbonate their drinks.

Agreement reached on African migrants at Israeli border


Israel said it will allow two female African migrants — one who is pregnant — and a teen to enter the country, and turn over more than a dozen other refugees who have been trapped at its border to Egyptian authorities.

Thursday's decision by the Israel government came hours after the Israeli Supreme Court decided to hold another hearing on the migrants' situation on Sunday. The hearings are in response to a petition filed by We are Refugees, an Israeli NGO, that calls on Israel to provide food, water and medical care to the refugees.

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office called the decision a humanitarian solution to the problem of the 20 African migrants who have been trapped for a week between Israel's border fence with Egypt, The Jersusalem Post reported.

Later Thursday, an Israeli official told the French news agency AFP that the agreement was reached between military commanders from both Israel and Egypt, along with the migrants, who had refused to be sent back to Egypt.

Israeli soldiers have been ordered not to let in the refugees but reportedly have provided them with water.

“It is important that everyone understand that Israel is no longer a destination for infiltrators,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Thursday evening after the agreement was announced. “We are determined to stop the flood of infiltrators that has been here. We built this fence and it has already lowered the number of infiltrators by 90 percent. We will intensify steps against those who employ illegal infiltrators, and we will continue the effort to return infiltrators to their countries of origin.”

Also Thursday, Israeli police and troops blocked a delegation from the Israeli chapter of Physicians for Human Rights from visiting the trapped migrants.

The Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday evening released a statement saying that Israel is not obligated under international law to allow the migrants to enter, since they do not face persecution in Egypt. Also Wednesday, the envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel, William Tall, called on Israel to allow the refugees to enter Israel and apply for asylum.

Last month, a group of migrants stuck along the border was allowed to enter Israel after four days. They were sent to a holding facility for illegal migrants.