Who hasn't heard about SodaStream? It's the soda you make at home! It's all the rage and supposedly, it creates sodas that are really close to the originals. We've all seen the commercials and you've probably seen the actual unit too. We know people who own a unit and enjoy it immensely.

Though SodaStream products are sold in over 55,000 retail establishments worldwide and in 43 countries, the company is experiencing a boycott by people who actually want to put it out of business. Yeah, it's hard to believe but there you have it. The question is why?

"SodaStream International is an Israeli company..." [1] But that's not all. Apparently, SodaStream is based in what is known as Area C in the Mideast and that, my friends, is right smack in the middle of the so-called disputed territory of the West Bank. Though this area is technically under Israeli control, it is still subject to disputes between Palestinians and Israelis. One group in particular - Interfaith Boycott Coalition - urges the boycott of SodaStream because purchasing their products gives the impression of supporting Israel's "occupation of the West Bank." [2]

The sad situation here is that SodaStream employs "500 West Bank Palestinians, 400 Arab Israelis, and 200 Israeli Jews..." in their plant in the West Bank alone. [3] The company has gone out of its way to provide the best possible work environment for all workers, even creating a mosque and a synagogue at the factory. Arabs and Jews work together, enjoying the same wages and insurance benefits.

SodaStream boxYou would think this would be a good thing, a quality representation of how those with differing viewpoints in the Middle East rise above increasing tension to work together. Unfortunately, those of the Interfaith Boycott Coalition would rather do what they can to tear it down through boycott even if that means hurting sales and possibly displacing workers. Because SodaStream - a company owned by Jewish individuals - has a plant in disputed territory, groups like the Interfaith Boycott Coalition see it as part of the Israeli "occupation" of Palestine.

Looking through the many articles on the 'Net regarding the boycott of SodaStream, it is obvious that people are in love with the idea of putting SodaStream out of business. Even Jewish rabbis have signed on. Certainly people have a right to boycott whichever company they would like to boycott, but the problem here is that there are no civil rights problems related to SodaStream of which I am aware. They are not abusing people and in fact, their employees based in the West Bank plant includes more "Palestinians" than Jews or others. I wonder how these folks feel about the fact that many in the world are coming against them simply because SodaStream is owned by Jews and have a plant in "disputed" territory? I also wonder how they feel about their jobs possibly becoming threatened due to this boycott?

I've often thought about boycotts and I've heard what I believe to be excellent arguments from both sides of the aisle. I find that I'm leaning more toward not boycotting companies, yet I still believe that in some way, where I spend my money is something God takes into account. More prayer, more thought, and more consideration is needed.

One thing is sure for me at this point with respect to SodaStream. I will probably be purchasing one of these units soon simply because of what the Jewish owners of the company have done for people on the West Bank. I know it probably sounds sappy (and ultimately, what is occurring at SodaStream most likely cannot occur on a larger scale), but it's nice to see that Jews and Arabs can work together in peace and harmony.

In the end, if the boycott succeeds, those in favor of it may cheer loudly as if they actually won something. Will they also put as much effort into helping those who lose their jobs find other ones with the same pay, the same insurance benefits, and the same working conditions? It's too bad there are those from the Interfaith Boycott Coalition who would rather undermine it and tear it down than help it succeed.

[1] Israel My Glory magazine, May/June 2013, p. 5

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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