TEL AVIV – Israeli company SodaStream released a video over the weekend dedicated to the 74 Palestinians who were laid off last week after Israeli authorities refused to extend their work permits.
The video, which has gone viral on social media, is a farewell tribute to the last of the company’s Palestinian employees, the rest of whom – some 500 workers – were made redundant after the soda giant moved its plant from the West Bank to Israel proper amidst a boycott campaign.
The clip, which was described as “heartbreaking” by many commenters, features Palestinian workers crying and embracing their Israeli counterparts.
The company’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum delivered a farewell address in which he asked Palestinian workers to never forget what they built at SodaStream.
“We built here an island of peace,” he said.
“Don’t let hate enter your hearts,” Birnbaum continued. “Don’t be angry at the soldier at the checkpoint. It’s my son, it’s my son, Nitai, there. And my son will never hate your son just because he’s a Palestinian.”
Birnbaum’s words were met with applause.
Finally, Brinbaum implored the Palestinians to never give up on the idea of peace.
“Even though the government of Israel is willing to give up on this proof that we can live together, that we can live in peace in a productive and respectful way, even though they gave up, I’m not giving up and you’re not giving up,” the CEO said.
“Every day we are making peace, and on the way we are also making soda water,” he concluded.
Whereas most people reacted with anger at the Israeli government’s failure to provide the permits, some commenters said that the blame rests on the anti-Israel BDS movement for pressuring the carbonated drinks manufacturer into relocating.
Last week, Breitbart reported that the company’s spokesperson, Maayan Nave, promised that the layoff was “not the end of the road” and SodaStream will continue to fight on the Palestinian employees’ behalf.