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SodaStream boss 'won’t give way' to Brighton protesters
The boss of a controversial drinks company has vowed not to give in to demands to close a store.
Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, said the firm will take legal action to clear protesters from the front of its EcoStream store in Western Road, Brighton.
Protesters and counter-protesters have gathered outside the shop on Saturday afternoons over the site of the SodaStream’s factory in an area which Palestinians claim is occupied by Israel.
The firm has two other factories in Israel and is building a huge facility in the south of the country.
He told The Argus: “We are in Brighton to stay. The protesters have a right to make their point but our customers have a right to use the shop.
"We are prepared to go to court if necessary to stop the intimidation of our staff and customers.
"Neither will we close our production facility in Mishor Adumim. More than half of the workforce at this factory are Palestinians.
"They earn above average salaries and support their families. I will not sacrifice their jobs.”
He called for Green MP Caroline Lucas, whose Brighton Pavilion constituency includes the Sodastream outlet, to visit the company’s factories and talk with Palestinian workers.
Ms Lucas said: “The retail sector is a key part of our local economy and I am keen to ensure that green businesses in particular are welcomed to the city – so while I don’t support calls for the EcoStream store to close, I do think it’s right that local people are able to take a principled stand about the fact that Sodastream and its parent company Soda-Club operate out of an illegal Israeli settlement.
“A number of constituents have contacted me to express support for the protests at the EcoStream store and it’s my view that those people have a right to demonstrate peacefully in the hope of persuading the company to think about moving their manufacturing plant elsewhere.”
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