Israeli Citizens to Paola Maugeri: Apartheid is Not Zero Impact

[PDF version here]
14 September, 2012

Dear Paola Maugeri,

We write to you as citizens and residents of Israel who believe that we share similar values concerning human nature and the importance of taking responsibility and action in the world that we live in. It has come to our attention that while promoting a zero-impact lifestyle that is respectful of animal rights and is environmentally-friendly, you have also undertaken the task of promoting Soda-Stream – a company located on occupied and stolen land that is directly involved in activity against all of the values mentioned above. We are baffled by your choice and would like to take this opportunity in offering our view on the environment, the animals and the people living in this region.

The State of Israel carries out a multi-tiered system of oppression against the Palestinian people. It consists of a brutal military occupation, the longest running occupation in modern time, in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. It also consists of a system of segregation and denial of rights based on ethnicity. This system, which falls under the legal definition of the crime of apartheid[1], is at the very foundation of the state and exists long before the occupation of '67. Its implications in the OPT and specifically at Mishor Edomim – the production site for Soda Stream, consists of vast annexation of land, water resources and minerals[2,3], mass uprooting of trees and the building of an 8-meter concrete wall on the stolen land – with its detrimental impact on the eco-system as well as on the everyday life of the people. This is all in addition to the well known military occupation that is denying the most basic rights from well over 3.5 million civilians, 1.5 of whom are besieged and helpless in the Gaza Strip where 95% of its water is unfit for human consumption[4].
Given all the mentioned violations, it is quite striking that the number of Jewish-Israeli activists who stand by universal values and would therefore necessarily demand the respect of elementary rights for Palestinians, as well as Jews, is so small. It is interesting to note, however, that among this group of activists who call for the respect of international law and of universally recognized human rights, we are also almost entirely vegan. In other words, many of us Israeli-Jews who promote Palestinian rights are also active on other fronts relating to animal welfare, social, gender and environmental issues. This is not surprising since being the over-privileged in an ethnic-supremacist and inherently unequal society means that we carry more of a responsibility for changing the situation and speaking out on behalf of the voiceless, the defenseless and the impoverished.

Reports have clearly shown the complicity of Soda Stream in these crimes[5,6] and your participation in promoting their products can only be interpreted, unfortunately, as a means of "green washing" their complicity in crime. On your website[7] you acknowledge the view that a fair treatment of the environment along with its people and other animals are all needed: "I am very involved with environmental issues and committed to working to prevent the exploitation of animals as well as for the diffusion of a conscious way of eating and fair trade". We are therefore left with simply asking you, dear Paola, to act accordingly and refuse to participate in the many crimes involved with Israeli occupation and apartheid.
It should be noted that by simply expressing our views on this matter we risk being prosecuted under a recently legislated law in Israel[8]. If calling on others to live up to their moral values means violating the law, then what does that say about the state that legislates such a law?
We choose to stand by the rights of all living beings in this region, those alive and those yet to be born. We wholeheartedly choose to endorse the Palestinian society's call for BDS[9] and the promotion of freedom, justice and equality for all. Please join us in this just struggle, we need you on our side.

Ronnie Barkan
Naomi Greenspan
Dorothy Naor
Ofer Neiman
Renen Raz
Herzl Schubert
Yonatan Shapira
Michal Vexler

 On behalf of BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
[1] - Set of reports about the crime of apartheid in Israel/Palestine