The Israeli soda drink company SodaStream will soon begin labeling its products in the U.S. as “Made in the West Bank.” The reason for the decision, according to media reports, was pressure on the company and complaints filed by U.S.-based human rights groups.
The company had already declared it would shut down its facilities beyond the Green Line and relocate them to Israel proper. The facility in Maaleh Adumim, which also employs a large number of Palestinians, is slated to relocate to Lehavim in southern Israel in 2015.
SodaStream made headlines in early 2014 after pro-Palestinian organizations publicly berated American actress Scarlett Johansson for agreeing to be a global brand ambassador for the company. Johansson, for her part, refused to resign from her position at the company.
The complaint against SodaStream was submitted to the Oregon Department of Justice in May 2014, and accused SodaStream of violating fair trade laws by labeling products made in Maaleh Adumim as “Made in Israel.” Under Oregon’s fair trade laws, companies are prohibited from false advertising and can be punished for misleading packaging.
SodaStream said in a statement that relocating the factory to Lehavim stems from “purely commercial” reasons, and was unconnected to the pressure applied by pro-Palestinian groups.
“The company labels its products in accordance to the local legal requirements in any territory which it operates,” the company said.