Maugeri’s role as Sodastream “PR Ambassador ”at odds with Oxfam position on Israeli settlements

The campaign targeting Sodastream marketing initiatives continues to achieve results. Sodastream, a private Israeli company producing home carbonation systems, is object of international boycott campaigns highlighting the company’s illegal activities: the main production facilities are located in the Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim, built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories in violation of international law and human rights.[1]

In response to a letter from the Italian Stop Sodastream Campaign,[2] Oxfam Italy cut ties with Paola Maugeri, "PR Ambassador" for Sodastream Italy. Oxfam Italy had previously engaged Maugeri in their fundraising campaign “A future without hunger.”

The promotional video featuring Paola Maugeri, a well-known radio personality and author of the book "My Life at zero impact," was immediately removed by Oxfam Italy.[3] The NGO confirmed that they had notified Maugeri of the reasons behind their decision and are working to convince her to terminate her collaboration with Sodastream, as requested in the letter from Stop Sodastream. In their reply, Roberto Barbieri, General Director of Oxfam Italy, reiterated the organization’s position "against the trade of products from the settlements in the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law and one of the main obstacles to achieving a just, lasting and stable peace in the area," regarding "the sales of such products a means for legitimizing the settlements’ existence."

 

This is not the first time Oxfam has maintained consistency with their own positions. In 2009, Oxfam International cut ties with Sex and the City star Kristin Davis over her role as spokesperson for cosmetics company Ahava, which operates from the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank.[4]

The letter to Oxfam Italy is part of a series of initiatives launched by Stop Sodastream to convince Paola Maugeri that promoting products resulting from human rights violations is anything but zero impact.

A letter signed by over 800 people throughout Italy called on Paola Maugeri to terminate all relations with Sodastream and not allow that her admirable commitment to ecological sustainability be used in creating an environmentally-friendly image for a company that turns a profit from the denial of fundamental rights to Palestinians, including access to water.[5]

In September, Israeli vegans wrote to Maugeri, herself a committed vegan, pointing out that her involvement in promoting Sodastream’s products “can only be interpreted, unfortunately, as a means of ‘green-washing’ their complicity in crimes" committed by Israel against the Palestinian people [6].

Maugeri also received a letter from the Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden, a country she admires for their ethics and values. In the letter, Anna Wester, chair of the organization, states, "Engaging in promotional activities for a company whose products include human rights abuses in each and every package is anything but ethical."[7]

The letters were delivered to Paola Maugeri during her book presentations in Rome, Bologna, Turin, Milan and Florence by Stop Sodastream activists who pointed out the inconsistencies in a commitment to the environment void of defense of human rights. Paola Maugeri recently showed signs of reconsidering her involvement with Sodastream, going so far as to voice criticism of her own decision.[8]

Oxfam Italy joins other Italian organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to ethical principles, refusing to be involved in Sodastream’s marketing initiatives. Legambiente, once made aware of Sodastream’s human rights violations, terminated a sponsorship deal with the company. WWF Italy, involved unknowingly in a Sodastream promotional event, denied the use of its logo.[9]

We congratulate Oxfam Italy for this decision consistent with their commitment to the Palestinian people, through both projects in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as advocacy work expressing firm positions against Israeli policies that violate human rights and international law. We call on Oxfam Italy to issue a public statement on the matter in order to help expose the truth about Sodastream, thus preventing others from becoming involved with the company unaware of its complicity with the Israeli occupation.

In addition, we hope that Paola Maugeri will soon terminate relations with Sodastream, issuing a public statement on her decision.

Stop Sodastream campaign
BDS Italy

BDS Italia is a movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, comprised of associations and groups throughout Italy who endorse the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society and promote BDS campaigns and initiatives locally and nationally.

Notes

[1] http://www.whoprofits.org/content/production-settlements-case-sodastream

Contrary to Sodastream’s previous statements implying it would be ceasing production in the settlement, on October 12 the CEO affirmed that the company has no intention of closing the factory built in the occupied Palestinian territories. (http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9982461.SodaStream_boss__won___t_give_way__to_Brighton_protesters/)

[2] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-stop-sodastream/507-oxfam

The Stop Sodastream campaign is committed to exposing the truth about Sodastream and promoting the boycott of Sodastream products (http://www.bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagna-stop-sodastream). The campaign has achieved significant results. Stock analysts have attributed the recent 10% drop in Sodastream share price to the boycott campaigns as well as initiatives such as the proposal of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Irish Parliament to prohibit the sales of products from Israeli settlements. This price drop highlights concerns of possible additional measures at European level against settlement products (http://seekingalpha.com/article/910411-latest-on-sodastream).

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI_xraW4p3o

[4] http://www.haaretz.com/news/report-sex-and-the-city-star-embroiled-in-west-bank-controversy-1.281515

[5] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/iniziative-stop-sodastream/371-maugeri

[6] http://boycottisrael.info/content/israeli-citizens-paola-maugeri-apartheid-not-zero-impact

[7] http://bdsitalia.org/images/stories/pdfs/sweden-maugeri.pdf

[8] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/iniziative-stop-sodastream/506-maugeri-torino

[9] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/english-menu/339-join-the-stream-eng

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