I really, really, really hate soda.
It doesn’t matter which flavor, it’s the idea of bubbling water that really makes my skin crawl.
So on one esoteric level, I personally, support the banning of all sodas around the world without prejudice!
But let’s get serious, and talk about Soda stream for a minute.
An IMF friend from a different continent, had called on me to ask for “moral authorization” to boycott Soda stream.
He didn’t really feel right about the idea of ‘boycott’ per se, but on the other hand, had said that he was getting some pressure from likeminded friends, who said he needs to man up and take a stance about the settlements.
While I usually agree that all people should take a stance about life in general. I have always been consistent in saying, that on 99% of topics in this world, my stance is: “I have no clue about this matter, thus am staying the hell out”.
With this in mind, I went on to question him for a while, on why he would care enough to take a stance in the first place.
He is a “do-gooder” type, and gave the expected Cliché answers, that those feeding themselves off of general media usually do i.e. Israel being the only conflict in the universe etc.
While not reminding him that the continent he was standing on, knows at this very moment a few “minor altercations” which have cost more bloodshed in their brief history, than the whole Palestinian-Israeli conflict’s 60 some years; Or that all combined trauma of the 100 year old Arab-Israeli conflict put together and times 100* [and feel free to check me on that statistic] does not reach the same number of dead from armed conflict on his continent at parallel.
I did however say, that while it is notable that he decided to consult me before damning Soda stream, maybe he should first ask himself what a boycott would achieve at all.
And here’s what I said [warning: crash course in the Israeli Palestinian conflict ahead, if you are the type which doesn’t let the facts confuse them, just jump on
ahead to #2]:
So, let’s start at the very beginning – the facts:
1. Soda stream’s factory has been on the ground since the 1990’s, yes the same 1990’s which fathered the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement which divided the land destined to be a Palestine into 3 areas: A, B and C.
C area, where the plant in question exists, is an area agreed upon by both sides, to be under Israeli control, until a permanent peace is achieved.
The agreement had been signed with the very same Palestinians that are supposedly suffering from Soda stream factory’s “outrageous” job opportunities, and decent salaries today [shame on them…].
So what changed?
While it is very sad that we’re still without peace today, both sides have never declared the interim agreement null and void, thus are still within its same obligations, confines and directives.
Hence: same Palestinians, whom you wish to assist by boycotting the plant today, had signed an agreement saying, its fine for that plant to be there in the first place.
Tell me about it…
2. What does the boycott achieve? I mean have you asked yourself really?
Is its purpose to bring Israel to its knees, because if so, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but Soda stream is not owned by the Israeli government. Moreover if you really want to destroy Israel, you should probably start by boycotting High-tech and pharmaceutical produce of Israel, as those are our major exports. Let’s see how far along you get without medicine or computers…
I mean really if that’s your thing in life, then good luck to you on your travel back to the 18th century, Israel doesn’t care and won’t feel a thing when you’ll get sick and boycott our medicine or when you want to light a light in your room but have to resort to lighting a fire, as using electricity [or just about anything] is only available due to computer hardware and software created by Israel.
Noticed I’ve said ‘the destruction of Israel’? How very astute of you. That is the cause you are signing onto with boycotting [however implausible it maybe] and don’t you forget it [on a scale of 1-10 it’s about 1000 implausible but whatever]. In no way do Palestinians gain, from economic attacks on Israel; they will only lose about 900 pretty good jobs in the Soda stream plant, nothing more.
In reality, trying to hurt Israel economically, serves nothing but hardening the anti-peace hard liners and giving them ammunition to vilify the international community as Israel haters and anti-Semites.
3. Laziness – The only reason you are considering this option in the first place, is because you are a lazy generation Y person.
Yes I’ve said it. You prefer the non-active option of “just not buying something”, to actually getting off of your ass and doing something to promote peace in the Middle East. That’s what your parent’s generation would have done. That’s what the 1960’s and 1970’s revolutions were about.
What can you do? Are you too far away to actually create a project promoting peace?
Really? You’re too far away to start a debate club? Too far away to start an internet site? Too far away to donate to one of a ton of different pro-peace organizations?
Are you sure you’re not just lazy?
4. What do you know?
Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you come upon two taxi drivers arguing, do you take a stance? Do you support one side against the other before you hear both? Supporting a boycott is supporting an attack on one side; I guess you have pretty good reason for that, don’t you? That side you’re supporting is probably a helpless victim, isn’t it? By the way, what are these things here bellow?
5. While it is true that if you happen upon two guys in a hole, you could throw them a couple of shovels, and tell them to dig until they reach Australia, Is that really the best way out?
By telling the Palestinians that the world will destroy Israel, what kind of motivation are you giving them to make peace? What kind of motivation are you giving Israel?
Shouldn’t you, instead of throwing shovels, just give them a hand out of the hole?
I think you should, and the best way to do so is to build bridges [or ladders].
Those tend to be a lot more helpful.
Isn’t a factory employing Israelis and Palestinians side by side, in good working conditions, just such a ladder?
Shouldn’t we open 100 more of these if we want to solve the problem, instead of closing the only one?
It was our Murdered leader PM Rabin R.I.P who had said:” “We have to fight terror as if there were no peace talks, and we have to pursue peace as if there were no terror.”
Maybe we need to re-adapt that saying to the 21st century, here goes:
We must fight for soda streams as if there was no peace process, and fight for the peace process as if there were no soda streams…
Hmmmm… I admit that’s not the greatest quote, but you get my point, don’t you?
Ohad Avidan Kaynar
Deputy Consul General of Israel