We, cartoonists and illustrators from all countries, are surprised, disappointed and angry to find out that SodaStream is an official sponsor of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.
As you must know, SodaStream is the target of an international boycott call for its contribution to the colonization of Palestinian land, due to its factory in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, its exploitation of Palestinian workers, and its theft of Palestinian resources, in violation of international law and contravening international principles of human rights.
Angoulême has had an important role in the appreciation of comics as an art form for over 40 years. It would be sad if SodaStream were able to use this event to whitewash their crimes.
We ask you to cut all ties between the Festival and this shameful company.
But such a change of course is likely to prove elusive, as the letter’s addressee, festival director Franck Bondoux, repudiated the charges in a statement today to the French newspaper Le Monde:
Regarding SodaStream, I do not see how this enterprise is shameful. It’s based in an old settlement in Zone C, born of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO. Nothing prevents an enterprise from setting up there in anticipation of an accord between the two parties, especially since such an agreement has been particularly delayed. SodaStream, rather, opens gateways. It employs 500 Palestinian workers who work in good conditions. This enterprise has never been condemned in France. To speak of its criminality, as do these authors [of the letter], is to take a partisan position. To reject [SodaStream as a sponsor] would be to condemn it: it would an injustice in reverse. [translation and links by the author]