Campaigners for Palestinian human rights have welcomed the closure of SodaStream’s flagship UK store in Brighton and the news that major retailer, John Lewis, will no longer be stocking SodaStream products.
The double blow to SodaStream, which has been trying to establish a foothold in the UK, came this week. EcoStream, as the Brighton store is known, was closed on Monday. John Lewis announced its decision the next day.
SodaStream issued this statement yesterday: ‘SodaStream confirms that the EcoStream store, located on Western Road in Brighton, closed earlier this week. Following the two year test period, the company has decided to focus its business efforts on other channels, specifically on retail distribution partnerships.’
SodaStream’s decision follows two years of weekly Saturday demonstrations outside the EcoStream store, staged by Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
In London, Palestine Solidarity Campaign has organised fortnightly Saturday protests outside John Lewis’ flagship Oxford Street store. The campaign to stop John Lewis stocking SodaStream products included direct communication with John Lewis CEO, Andy Street, urging him to put ethical trading before profits.
SodaStream’s manufacturing plant is located in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law.
Seven Palestinian villages were destroyed and their inhabitants displaced in order to build the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
Sarah Colborne, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: ‘The news that SodaStream is closing its main UK store and that John Lewis is taking SodaStream products off its shelves is a major success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
‘SodaStream, by locating its factory in an illegal settlement and contributing financially, through taxes, to that settlement, is complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.’
Colborne added: ‘Palestinians should have the right to their own state, on their own land, to create their own factories and jobs, and run their own economy. Israel’s settlements, eating up the West Bank, deny them that right.
‘The double blow dealt to SodaStream this week should serve as a warning to other settlement companies – their business is not wanted here.
‘And UK retailers should note John Lewis’ decision to ditch SodaStream, and take heed of UK government business guidelines which warn companies of the potential reputational damage of trading with settlement firms.’
Palestine Solidarity Campaign will continue to campaign to persuade other retailers, including Argos and Sainsbury’s, to stop selling SodaStream.
- UK Government Guidelines on trading with settlement companies (issued December 2013)