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The truth about SodaStream’s West Bank factory

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Scarlett Johansson has severed her ties with Oxfam after the British charity upbraided her for serving as the first Global Brand Ambassador for the home seltzer company SodaStream, which operates a factory in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim.

The company has come under fire because, in the eyes of some Israel critics, the factory is a colonialist enterprise whose flourishing — not to mention the broad visibility and legitimacy that comes from a Super Bowl ad starring a Hollywood A-lister — obstructs Palestinian rights.

But as JTA’s Ben Sales found during a visit to the plant last year, hundreds of Palestinians work at the plant, where they enjoy higher-than-average pay on par with their Jewish colleagues, a place to pray and other benefits.

“Everyone works together: Palestinians, Russians, Jews,” a Palestinian employee named Rasim at the Maale Adumim site told JTA. Rasim has worked at the plant for four months and asked that his last name not be published. “Everything is OK. I always work with Jews. Everyone works together, so of course we’re friends.”

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