No peace without justice

Why the Palestinian Action Group is focusing on SodaStream

The author is a peace- and social-justice activist living in Chico.

The Palestine Action Group recently participated in an International Day of Action in support of Palestinian human rights. The inspiration for our work is a well-known saying: “If you want peace, work for justice.” Justice involves respect for human- and civil rights and the dignity of the person. This does not today characterize Palestinian life in Israel/Palestine.

Palestinians are mistreated and discriminated against in their homeland by the Israeli government and its settlers who have illegally occupied Palestinian land since 1967. Israel punitively controls Palestinian water and electricity, jails or detains Palestinians without cause, closes their schools, uproots their olive orchards, and destroys their homes and farms.

The specific object of our ongoing protest is SodaStream, a company located in an illegal Israeli settlement. The settlements and SodaStream are built on occupied Palestinian land, which violates international law and Palestinian rights. Our recent Day of Action was a way to bring attention to these issues.

The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion in military aid per year. This aid is used to purchase and develop weapons that enforce Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. Some of these weapons are cluster bombs of white phosphorus and Apache helicopters used by Israel in its 2008-2009 bombing of Gaza. Our tax dollars are used to provide this military aid, and it is our duty as U.S. citizens to protest our country’s complicity in Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people.

The Palestine Action Group was recently asked why we pick on Israel instead of Syria and Iran. The fact is, when we stand for the rights of one group, we stand for the rights of all.

Every journey is taken one step at a time, and our first step is to focus on SodaStream. Besides applying economic pressure, the goal of the SodaStream boycott is to inform the international community of the many injustices against Palestinians in order to create a more just and peaceful society. If Israelis genuinely want peace, they must end military occupation and oppressive policies against the Palestinian people: If you want peace, work for justice.

For more information, contact the Palestine Action Group at