Forward Thinking

Hacking SodaStream Debate

By Naomi Zeveloff

  • Print
  • Share Share

In addition to the Scarlett Johansson Super Bowl ad, part of the reason that SodaStream has gotten so much attention — as opposed to many other products on the boycott Israel list — is because it presents an ethical conundrum for its lefty customers. SodaStream has become a symbol for health and environmentalism, but also for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

In other words, if you want to make your soda at home, but you’re also a BDS adherent — or even if you’re practicing limited, West-Bank-only BDS — you’re mostly out of luck. As a recent New York Magazine story pointed out, “Even the most fervent anti-Zionists will admit that, for seltzer addicts, SodaStream’s competitors leave something to be desired.”

But what happens if you’re a SodaStream detractor who happens to own a SodaStream — whether by dint of a gift, or a purchase made previous to a political awakening (or maybe even a guilty one-time acquisition)? Rather than toss their seltzer makers, some SodaStream owners are taking a cue from hackers who have figured out how to use the machines without continuing to support the company by buying its CO2. For the hackers, it’s all about saving money — a SodaStream CO2 cartridge, which must be replaced every two to four months, costs between $15 and $45. For the anti-occupation SodaStream owners, on the other hand, it’s political.

One such SodaStream owner is Daniel Sieradski, a Jewish activist and writer. At the height of the Scarlett Johansson debacle, Sieradski Tweeted about his own seltzer maker. “Just a reminder, I own a Sodastream and have absolutely zero problems with them other than the fact that they have a plant in the West Bank,” he wrote on January 31. “But until the (sic) move their plant, I will be using my own CO2.” Sieradski, who declined an interview request by the Forward, linked to a web site called Critical Paintball, which sells a metal adapter that can be screwed onto a paintball CO2 canister to be used in place of the SodaStream cartridge. The kit costs $59.99. Unlike SodaStream cartridges, the paintball canister is reusable and can be refilled for $2 or $3.

Unable to reach Critical Paintball, I emailed another web site, CO2Doctor, which is selling a similar kit to hack the SodaStream. The site’s sales manager, Dann Johnson, declined my interview request: “…I am concerned that we will somehow get caught up in the ongoing turmoil surrounding the Sodastream boycott movement which we have no interest in participation, for or against,” he wrote. “If anything, anything detrimental to Sodastream’s success is ultimately detrimental to us since we rely on their success as a means of obtaining success for our product offering.”

Other SodaStream hackers have gone even more rogue, figuring out how to use the SodaStream without purchasing new hardware at all. One YouTube video demonstrates how to crack open the SodaStream CO2 cartridge, fill it with dry ice, and reseal it for use in the machine.

Then there are those who game the system by hoodwinking SodaStream. According to New York Magazine, when journalist Ali Gharib told his cousin about SodaStream’s West Bank factory, the cousin launched a year-long “‘subversive campaign’ to undermine SodaStream’s business model by using the gas cylinders, then mailing them back to the company claiming they’d been defective and receiving free replacements in return.”

What these hackers teach us is that, for BDS-following seltzer drinkers, yes, it’s possible to have your SodaStream and drink it too.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: occupation, hacking, West Bank, Super Bowl, SodaStream, Scarlett Johansson, Israel, Dan Sieradski, BDS

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.