In Rome, on December 7, for the Italian “National Boycott Sodastream Day”, 20 activists from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign organized an action against the sale of Sodastream products at a retailer of the Expert appliance chain. Sodastream is an Israeli company producing home carbonators in an industrial plant located in an Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Inside the store, two activists feigned interest in purchasing Sodastream products, while a third, playing the role of an informed consumer, explained to the customers as well as the shop owners that buying Sodastream products mean supporting Israeli Apartheid and occupation imposed on the Palestinian people. The performance concluded as the other activists entered wearing Christmas hats, carrying flyers and stickers and singing an anti-Sodastream version of Jingle Bells, in Roman dialect!
The shop owners were given a letter addressed to retailers, signed by over 1,400 people, explaining how Sodastream not only turns a profit from the Israeli occupation that steals Palestinian land, water and resources, but also exploits Palestinians workers living under occupation.
The store owners, unaware of the hidden truth behind Sodastream, immediately expressed concern and promised to suspend sales of the products. Moving from words to deeds, they removed all Sodastream products from the shop window.
The attention of the activists then shifted from holiday shopping to bars and restaurants, where Sodastream is looking to expand its market selling machines for sparkling water on tap. Equipped with a “no sales” booklet, the activists set out on a tour of the San Lorenzo neighborhood doing counter-promotion with a “preventive” letter encouraging owners not to purchase the Sodastream machines. The bars and restaurants showed interest in the campaign, with some joining on the spot, displaying the “We are Sodastream-Free” sticker on their door.
Sodastream is the target of an international boycott campaign, which has recently seen more than 50 actions in 6 countries.
In Italy, the environmental organizations Legambiente e WWF have cut ties with Sodastream and Oxfam Italia suspended relations with Paola Maugeri due to her role as Sodastream testimonial. The City of Trieste also removed a Sodastream product as a prize in a recycling competition and has declared there will be no Sodastream technology in the city’s public water dispensers.
In Rome, actions will continue in order to ensure no one is drinking the bubbles of Israeli Apartheid.
Rome BDS activists