SodaStream burst onto the Rush Limbaugh Show scene in a big way on May 8, running ads on stations all over the country that were voiced by the controversial right wing talk show host himself. You know, because Americans need more soda.
Contacted by Flush Rush volunteers, the "home carbonation system" company suggested Limbaugh was not their spokesman (although he spoke the ad) and they wanted to avoid political associations:
Well, SodaStream, if you don't want Limbaugh to speak for you and you don't want political baggage, having the Tea Party's centerfold pinup boy read your ad on his incendiary show is a curious way to accomplish those goals.In fact, SodaStream is no stranger to controversy. Search their website and you'll find the claim that their headquarters are located in Israel. That depends on your definition of Israel.
As explained in an exhaustive profile of the company by WhoProfits.org, SodaStream--then called Soda Club--opened its factory in Mishor Edomim in 1996. Mishor Edomim is located in the West Bank, on land which was illegally confiscated from Palestinians in 1967 and has seen settlements rise ever since in spite of the objections of the International Court of Justice and the United Nations, which sees them as a "violation of human rights of Palestinians."
We are Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other people of conscience calling on all consumers and stores to stop buying and selling SodaStream carbonation devices or other products made by this company. SodaStream manufactures these machines within an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are illegal under international law and are obstacles to peace. We choose not to partake in supporting this unethical enterprise and ask consumers and stores to join us.The company's actions have also spawned some really creative protest/parody ads:
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum scoffs at criticism of his company, saying
"We don’t strengthen or support the occupation. What we’re doing is taking a facility in the occupied territory and giving Palestinians a career and economic benefits. I’ve got to laugh when they think we’re on the wrong side of this. We’re part of the solution. We build bridges, not walls."
The Palestinian employees SodaStream is exploiting for cheap labor don't agree.
In addition to being forced to participate in the "settlement economy" due to the lack of other employment opportunities, workers at the SodaStream plant report being forced to work for far below the minimum wage under terrible conditions. Workers who complain can be designated a "security risk" and have their work permit revoked, which means they lose their job but also the possibility of later employment in another settlement.
SodaStream's new partnership with Rush Limbaugh, a show which routinely heaps abuse upon women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and the poor, is just the latest example of the company's lack of integrity.
It's also just the latest example of how low Rush Limbaugh has sunk.
For anyone who has a SodaStream who would prefer to stop supporting them by purchasing their refill cartridges, here is an alternative.
Decent folks who believe in tolerance and equality are no longer powerless against Limbaugh's efforts to spread intolerance on the radio. StopRush is making a major impact by convincing advertisers on this show to withdraw their ads--and with your help we can do even more. Just a few emails, tweets, or Facebook messages a week to Limbaugh's advertisers can go a long way toward making hatred less profitable. It is our collective voice that makes us strong.
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