Sodastream Out of the Castro!
In 2012, QUIT! launched a campaign of tabling and street theater to get Cliff’s Variety to dump SodaStream. SodaStream manufactures its home soda makers in illegally occupied West Bank territory. The international boycott is picking up steam, and we’re asking Cliff’s to get on board. Cliff’s is one of the oldest businesses in the Castro, which is an international symbol of the queer community. We need to show them that being pro-queer means supporting human rights for all, not just carrying cool products.
SodaStream's Not Green, Clean or Pink (and it tastes bad too)
SodaStream makes home soda makers and promotes its products as a green, clean alternative to buying carbonated water. The problem is that SodaStream is headquartered in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, in the Palestinian West Bank occupied by Israel in 1967 and held illegally since then. Since 1967, Israel has moved settlers into the land it occupies, and confiscated more and more land for these settlements and their “security.” The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly forbids an occupying power from establishing colonies in occupied territory. Maale Adumim is one of the largest and fastest growing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, and this expansion is a cornerstone of Israel’s plan to “Judaize” Jerusalem – establishing a Jewish majority to control the city, which Palestinians also claim as their capital.
The Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem live under harsh military rule, without even the civil or political rights afforded Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Companies like SodaStream which take advantage of the tax breaks and lax environmental regulations offered for locating in “industrial zones” within the occupied territory, are profiting from these oppressive conditions. The settlements are a major justification for the Segregation (Apartheid) Wall Israel has been building in the West Bank since 2002. In 2004, a multilateral panel of the International Court of Justice ruled the Wall illegal and ordered Israel to tear it down. Israel has ignored this ruling, as it has ignored many resolutions calling for an end to the Occupation since 1967.
SodaStream is the target of an international boycott which is rapidly gaining ground. Many European stores have stopped carrying it. The Swedish Coop Grocery Chain joined the boycott in July 2011; until then, Sweden was the company’s largest market. The European Court of Justice ruled that the company was not entitled to the tax exemption of the EU-Israel Association Agreement because it is misleadingly packaged as “Made in Israel.”
Learn more about SodaStream and the international boycott against it.
Cliff’s Variety, a local store which has served the Castro for over 75 years, sells and aggressively markets SodaStream. QUIT! talked with the manager early this year and explained about the company’s deceptive labeling and asked them to respect the boycott. They refused. QUIT! has been tabling and doing street theater at Cliff’s for the last few months to convince the store to stop carrying SodaStream.
Our street theater includes a taste test, and all our testers found the product disgusting. And guess what? Testers in a recent San Francisco Chronicle survey did too! According to the article, the product was “universally disliked.” So tell Cliff’s there’s no need to break an international boycott to sell a product that makes bad-tasting water.
We are not telling anyone to boycott Cliff’s. We just want them to know that their customers care about human rights. If you shop there, please let them know that it’s not green or clean to support apartheid and occupation. If you don’t want to get into a conversation, you can print out this coupon and just give it to the cashier. They are feeling the pressure. Your voice counts!