Occupy Sodastream: Columbia Heights
The Jewish Voice for Peace DC Metro Chapter gathers monthly outside of DC USA, a shopping mall just down the street from Columbia Heights Metro Station. Its goal is to convince managers of the stores and passersby to boycott SodaStream, a manufacturing company that produces carbonated beverages in a contested region in Israel/Palestine.
The group argues that SodaStream operates in Israeli-occupied Palestinian land which deprives its Palestinian workers of labor benefits. Since DC USA is a mall containing large chain stores that tend to sell SodaStream products, it makes sense that the JVP would demonstrate there.
Iliana Smith, a member of the steering committee for JVP, believes that SodaStream shouldn’t be profiting off of Israeli occupation. Smith said that the main goal of this movement isn’t just to boycott SodaStream but also to educate people about the larger issue of the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
Her passion for this cause is personal. Smith lived in Israel and has family members of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. Now she advocates for justice for both Israelis and Palestinians.
“I would like nothing more than to see a resolution between the two states,” Smith said.
On a clear Sunday afternoon, members of the JVP demonstrated at their monthly meeting place. Usually there are about twenty-five people at these demonstrations but that day coincided with Adams Morgan Day, so attendance was sparse.
Still, the boycott thrived into the late afternoon as voices in unison shouted “No more money for Israel’s crime!” The chants paralleled the activist’s desires that no more money would be spent on SodaStream, the company that supports Israel’s occupation.