Boy­cott-row So­dastream shop closes

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SANDY RASHTY

THE IS­RAELI-OWNED EcoStream shop in Brighton has closed in the wake of weekly boy­cott protests.

EcoStream, which sold So­daStream re­cy­clable bot­tles made in the West Bank set­tle­ment of Mishor Adu­mim, was boarded up on Mon­day. This time last year, the man­age­ment had re­ported a 40 per cent rise in sales.

Sus­sex Friends of Is­rael, whose sup­port­ers reg­u­larly staged counter-protests, re­acted with dis­may.

SFI co-founder Si­mon Cobbs said: “Of course it’s dis­ap­point­ing. People are very up­set. The shop was never given a chance of fair trade.”

He ac­cused Brighton Pavil­ion MP Caro­line Lu­cas, a mem­ber of the Bri­tain-Pales­tine All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group, of not “do­ing any­thing to stop the pro­tes­tors”.

He said: “She wanted the shop shut by proxy, by not mak­ing the pro­tes­tors move.

“EcoStream should have never opened in lefty-lib­eral Brighton in the first place, but it should have been given a chance.”

A So­daStream UK spokes­woman con­firmed that six people have been made re­dun­dant. She said: “Fol­low­ing a two-year test pe­riod, the com­pany has de­cided to fo­cus its busi­ness ef­forts on other chan­nels.

“The busi­ness in the UK is on a high growth pat­tern, with over 20 per cent year-on-year growth and rolling out to new re­tail stores across the coun­try.”

Last week, John Lewis con­firmed it would no longer stock So­daStream prod­ucts due to “de­clin­ing sales”.

And this week So­daStream ex­ec­u­tives dis­missed ru­mours that it would re­lo­cate to a new fac­tory in the south of Is­rael.

In 2012 So­daStream re­ceived a NIS 25 mil­lion grant from the In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Cen­tre to­wards a NIS 130 mil­lion plant in the Idan In­dus­trial Zone in the Negev.

But a So­daStream UK spokes­woman said: “There is no ba­sis for these ru­mours. So­daStream has no fur­ther com­ment to add at this time.”

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