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Portuguese retailer Worten drops SodaStream

Portuguese electrical retailer Worten has ended the sale of SodaStream from its more than 135 stores across the country.

The decision came after pressure from campaigners pointing at SodaStream's appalling human rights record against Palestinians.

SodaStream is a target of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement worldwide and despite the company having closed down its factory in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim, it remains complicit with Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev.

Portuguese electrical retailer Worten has ended the sale of SodaStream from its more than 135 stores across the country.

The decision came after pressure from campaigners pointing at SodaStream's appalling human rights record against Palestinians.

SodaStream is a target of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement worldwide and despite the company having closed down its factory in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim, it remains complicit with Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouins in the Negev.

The Israeli company has a limited presence in the Portuguese market but last month it organized a star-studded "re-launch party" and rolled-out an aggressive marketing campaign across the country, hoping for a share of the Christmas sales.

SodaStream continues to be sold by Worten's main competitor, Auchan. Campaigners from "Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina" say they will keep the pressure until SodaStream leaves the Portuguese market.

The company has been hit hard from bad publicity for its persistent human rights abuses, with tumbling share prices and sales dipping to a low. In an attempt to re-brand the fizzy drinks machines, SodaStream took on new slogan - "water made exciting" - missing the irony in Israel's deliberate denial of basic water rights to Palestinians.

In a testimony to the US Congress in July 2015, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum admitted the company has been severely impacted by a growing boycott while insisting on calling its settlement factory built on land stolen from Palestinians an "island of peace".

Birnbaum received subsidies from the Israeli state to build the new SodaStream factory near Rahat in the Negev, a township Israel established in 1971 for Palestinian Bedouins it had forcefully displaced.

The relocation is part of a broader Israeli government initiative to move Jewish families and businesses to the Negev at the expense of indigenous Palestinian Bedouins living there, with 70 000 slated to be expelled from their homes and their communities demolished.

Campaigners worldwide have vowed to continue the boycott of SodaStream for as long as it continues complicit in the plans.


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