French Court Rules Boycott Group Cease Denigrating Campaign Against SodaStream

Court rules French boycott group cease and desist from campaigns against the Israeli company, which operates factory in West Bank.

A Paris court ruled that a French pro-boycott group must compensate SodaStream for denigrating its products and cease and desist from indicating on its website and other advertisements that the Israeli company's products are sold illegally.

SodaStream, which produces home carbonation devices and has a large factory in a West Bank settlement, has been the target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. It has been repeatedly in the headlines recently due to an ad campaign featuring new brand ambassador Scarlett Johansson, who has been criticized for representing a company with operations in the settlements while also serving as an ambassador for international aid group Oxfam.

According to Ma'ariv, SodaStream's distributor in France, OPM, sued The Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS) for claiming its products are sold illegally and fraudulently because they are labeled "Made in Israel" but partly manufactured in the West Bank. The group has been campaigning French retailers to remove SodaStream from their shelves.

The reasoning behind the court's decision is that, though a boycott is a legitimate tool, the way it is implemented must be done in a fair and appropriate manner that doesn't manipulate the company's own ads. For example, AFPS put out adds that read: "blood bubbles" or "Free the bubbles, Palestinians can wait."
The group was ordered to pay 6,500 euro.