George Soros, a major donor to J-Street and other progressive causes, has made his opposition to the BDS movement clear with his wallet.
Soros invested heavily in SodaStream, one of the top targets for BDS.
SodaStream came under massive BDS attack in January when it announced that Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson would serve as the brand ambassador. Since then, BDS supporters have continued to attack the company because of its factory in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim.
BDS supporters reject any Israeli presence over the Green Line and work to shut down the factory. Johansson and others, maintain that SodaStream helps Israeli-Palestinian relations because it provides jobs to hundreds of Palestinians at above-market rates of pay alongside Israelis as equals:
I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.
Join the Fighting BDS Facebook page and take a stand against the delegitimization of Israel.
In fact, an argument can be made that the BDS, not settlements, is the real obstacle to peace in the region because it shuts down any chance for peaceful co-existence and dialogue.
The BDS movement, of course, reacted predictably to the news of Soros investment, which also included a large number of shares in Teva, another Israeli company that has come under BDS attack. The movement’s National Committee (BNC) called for a boycott of the Soros Fund Management and his Open Society Foundations, which has funded numerous progressive NGOs.
We call on all Palestinian, Arab and international organizations that have received funding from the Soros foundations to pressure Mr. Soros to clean his investment portfolio of human rights violators and to refrain from applying for funds from these foundations if he fails to do so.
According to NGO Monitor, the Open Society Foundation has contributed to a number of NGOs that have been strongly critical of Israel, including Breaking the Silence. It will be interesting to see if these fund recipients follow through with the BDS call to pressure Soros or refrain from seeking additional funds.
In the meantime, Soros’ investment in SodaStream and Teva speaks volumes about what he thinks about the BDS. And now, it appears, the feeling is mutual.