SodaStream is an environmentally friendly product that puts fizz into ordinary tap water. It has been very popular. But many CTIP readers have a problem with Sodastream because it is made in Israel and they want to support the international movement to boycott Israel over its violations of Palestinian human rights. Two readers wrote in to say they have found some alternatives. Read more.
Letter to the editor
by Jennifer McSporran and Murray Kippen
Summer is here, a great time to enjoy refreshing, fizzy drinks with friends.
Recently we were looking to purchase a carbonator to make those fizzy drinks ourselves. These devices add carbonization to tap water (the bubbles that tickle your tongue). Carbonating your own tap water is much more environmentally responsible than buying the bubbly bottled water like Perrier sold in individual plastic bottles.
A quick internet search brings up SodaStream, not only as a recommended product, but as the market leader in the industry. But wait a minute, didn’t I read somewhere that SodaStream is made by an Israeli based company? Before buying one, perhaps some due diligence is in order due to the long history of human rights abuses against Palestinians in Israel.
Apparently like anything else in the Middle East, it’s complicated. SodaStream is made by an Israeli owned company. Up until 2014, it operated a factory in the West Bank, employing Palestinian workers. Further investigation showed that the factory was on an industrial estate built on land taken from Palestinians.
But it seems that this factory was exporting SodaStreams to Europe with a “Made in Israel” tag that allowed it to enter that market duty free. When it was revealed that the factory was not in fact in Israel, that advantage disappeared and before long, the factory was closed and operations were moved to Israel itself.
The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement is clear about boycotting anything made by an Israeli owned company. Since we personally advocate for human rights for Palestinians and support the BDS movement, I think we will stay away from the SodaStream product. Having a SodaStream taking a place of honour on the kitchen counter would be a political poke in the eye to supporting Palestinians and their struggle for freedom. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
An in-depth search turned up another 10 or so similar products. Yes, you can enjoy fizzy water in an environmentally responsible way without the weight of Middle Eastern politics making each sip difficult to swallow. But buyer beware, many of those systems use the same SodaStream CO2 canisters to make that fizz you crave, so you may not be entirely divested! Have a look here for some options:
One source is the American Friends Service Committee (otherwise known as the “Quakers”). They have a site which lists a number of alternatives.
Another source is a website called the “Sodamakers’ Club”. It lists 6 alternatives to Soda Stream.
Here’s hoping that a cool sip of water can quench our thirst for refreshment and social justice.
Murray Kippen and Jennifer McSporran, Ottawa
The views expressed in this letter are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect CTIP’s editorial stance.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We accept guest columnists and encourage brief comments (under 100 words) from serious readers. To learn more about what we do, contact us at email@example.com.