After years of facing boycotts and public-relations battles, SodaStream—purveyor of popular home soda makers—has announced that it will be moving its factory from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank to a small Negev town in southern Israel. The company says the move will take place by mid-2015.
Seen by its opponents as a legitimizer of internationally condemned Israeli settlements, the company and its supporters often pushed back by touting SodaStream's record of hiring Palestinian workers and paying them wages equal to Israeli workers. Earlier this year, Ahmed Nasser, a Palestinian SodaStream employee from Ramallah, praised the company, telling Haaretz that "he receives an hour-and-a-half worth of breaks in a standard 12-hour shift, and that prayer times are not deducted from break allowances."
Earlier this year, the controversy extended into the reaches of popular culture when actress Scarlett Johansson left her post as a global ambassador for the development organization Oxfam after she signed on to represent SodaStream in a Super Bowl commercial. "Ms. Johansson's role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador," Oxfam said in a statement.