Vote at the Guardian: Should Oxfam sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?

Israel/Palestine
on 44 Comments
“Sure, Oxfam. Let’s keep the dialogue going. What could happen?”(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook @stephinrome)

“Sure, Oxfam. Let’s keep the dialogue going. What could happen?”(Graphic: Stephanie Westbrook @stephinrome)

The Guardian just launched an online poll on the ScarJo controversy. So far it’s a blowout: 87% of voters (number unspecified) says yes, Oxfam should sever its ties with its recently appointed “brand ambassador.” I suspect, though, that SodaStream’s friends have not yet mobilized their forces – look for a big surge in the “no” column when they do. Still, we should be able to win this one – vote now, and spread the word.

Poll closes in seven days (Tuesday, Feb. 4).

44 Responses

  1. ivri
    January 28, 2014, 5:40 pm

    I have a feeling that all this only helps the PR of SodaStraem PR. With so much publication it might end up rivaling Coca Cola….

  2. Justpassingby
    January 28, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Well now its 85% for yes and 15% for no, but when aipac see this it will probably end in reverse.

    Good for the guardian to bring attention to this though.

  3. Eva Smagacz
    January 28, 2014, 6:52 pm

    I voted.

    But how do you see the results?

    • Penfold
      January 28, 2014, 7:22 pm

      You can see the results by mousing over each percentage.
      Currently it is:
      Yes – 87% (1816)
      No – 13% (266)

    • Daniel Rich
      January 28, 2014, 8:39 pm

      @ Eva Smagacz,

      After you’ve voted, scroll down and at the bottom of the page you should see a percentage [87% after I voted]. However, as the article suggests, no hard figures as to how many people voted one way or another [too bad and no coincidence, if you ask me, which you don’t, so I say it any way].

    • Bumblebye
      January 28, 2014, 9:38 pm

      I scrolled back down after voting, and the results were displayed – still at the same ratio as when the article went up.

    • thetruthhurts
      January 28, 2014, 10:45 pm

      i just went up to my local staples and saw a soda stream display. i’ll be calling staples tomorrow to complain, bigtime!

  4. Edward Q
    January 28, 2014, 8:30 pm

    I don’t think you voted. The same thing happened to me; I voted twice but no results appeared. My browser was blocking the cookies. I unblocked the cookies and when I voted a third time the results appeared.

  5. Dan Walsh
    January 29, 2014, 12:55 am

    I wholeheartedly support the call for Scarlett Johansson to sever all her ties to Soda Stream immediately. No lessening of Palestine solidarity pushback should occur until this is done. If she fails to do so in short order then the call for Oxfam to sever all their ties with her is also appropriate and essential.
    Her comments to date are not encouraging but we must ask ourselves if she has been “birthrighted”: has she been spoon-fed a diet of hasbara pablum? Has she had her perceptions of Zionism exquisitely fine-tuned so as to cause her to support Soda Stream and blinded her to the moral legitimacy of Palestinian resistance? We need to know if she a rational Zionist player or is she being played by Zionism? I wrote to Oxfam several days ago urging them to require her to choose between “Oxfam or Occupation” but I wonder if there isn’t something else we can do before calling for her ouster from Oxfam? Perhaps there is a way to translate this pushback into a genuine Palestine learning experience for her and the general public?
    I suggest we ask Oxfam to invite her to visit Palestine officially as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. If she accepted she might have the same kind of transformative experience that many other Americans have had: coming back from Palestine as radically changed people.
    Rather than working merely to neutralize her can we offer a different model for dealing with anti-Palestinian propaganda? Zionists play hardball 24/7 and employ censorship, shunning, threats and proscription as the first order of battle because they see the world through the lens of inculcated xenophobia. It’s all they have. Palestine solidarity does not have to mirror Zionism: we can urge Oxfam to invite Johansson to visit Palestine as an Oxfam Global Ambassador and let her learn heuristically—the purest form of education—about the justice at the heart of the Palestinian narrative.
    Would it not be a good thing to have someone who inhabits the eye of the media storm visiting and speaking publicly about Palestine? How is that not a good thing? Of course, we cannot know if she would accept Oxfam’s offer (or if they would offer it) or if she did how she might be affected. What we can say is that if we believe in the justice of Palestine’s case and the phenomenal power of the authentic Palestinian narrative to touch the human soul then we lose nothing and gain much by offering Johansson an opportunity to see Palestine firsthand as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.
    Might it be possible to get her not merely to abandon Soda Stream but to reject Zionism outright? This kind of person-to-person experience might work for Bill de Blasio as well (it helped him come to see the justice of the Nicaraguan struggle against Somoza). It might become a new meme to demand of politicians and celebrities reflectively critical of Palestinians or Palestine solidarity that they actually visit Palestine in much the same way that many of them have accepted AIPAC-packaged visits to Israel as a way of claiming some form of knowledge of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict.
    It is one thing to wound a tyrant: it is something else entirely to have his rank-and-file defect to Palestine.

    • bintbiba
      January 29, 2014, 6:44 am

      Wise words, Mr. Walsh!

    • adele
      January 29, 2014, 1:17 pm

      I think your suggestions and strategy is spot on. I think it is worth contacting Oxfam and suggesting they take ScarJo on a visit to witness the realities of Occupation first hand. An excellent opportunity for providing greater exposure and education.

    • Citizen
      January 30, 2014, 3:40 am

      @ Dan Walsh

      Hard for me to believe that she made her contract with Sodastream totally ignorant of the reality of I-P situation. She doesn’t have a track record of being apolitical. Even if she only had a vague awareness, I’m sure she can google like anyone else; if she did, she must know there’s two narratives, not one. She has chosen the one she likes. But, there’s still hope–she did sever her ties with her biological stage mother.

      • Citizen
        January 30, 2014, 4:00 am

        She travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty. Why wouldn’t she offer to travel via Oxfam to Gaza and WB to check that out? No, she quit Oxfam. Ziocain is addictive.

  6. FreddyV
    January 29, 2014, 1:00 am

    86% at the moment. Wait until the hasbarists get hold of this. It’ll probably take a massive change very suddenly when the bots spread the word.

  7. eGuard
    January 29, 2014, 5:25 am

    Noteworthy that MSM The Guardian has to quote electronicintifada.net .

  8. just
    January 29, 2014, 5:52 am

    “If he could turn back the clock, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum would “never” have established a production plant on an Israeli Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. In fact, he said Tuesday, its location has turned out to be “a pain in the ass.”

    “We’re here because we’re here — for historical reasons,” Birnbaum told the Forward in an exclusive interview, when asked about the public row that has erupted over the controversial location of his company’s main facility.

    The decision to locate SodaStream’s now contentious plant in this industrial park within the boundaries of the West Bank settlement Ma’ale Adumim, about 10 minutes outside of Jerusalem, did in fact predate Birnbaum’s arrival. It was a choice made by company founder Peter Weissburgh, back in the 1990’s, long before SodaStream was taken over by the Fortismo Capital Fund, it current owners, who appointed Birnbaum to head the firm in 2007.

    But though he wouldn’t have opened the factory at its current site, Birnbaum said that its presence here is now a given reality, and he won’t bow to political pressure to close it — even though the company is about to open a huge new plant in the Negev, within Israel’s internationally-recognized boundaries, which will replicate all functions of the West Bank plant, and dwarf it.

    The reason is loyalty to approximately 500 Palestinians who are among the plant’s 1,300 employees, Birnbaum claimed. While other employees could relocate on the other side of the Green Line if the plant moved, the West Bank Palestinian workers could not, and would suffer financially, he argued.

    “We will not throw our employees under the bus to promote anyone’s political agenda,” he said, adding that he “just can’t see how it would help the cause of the Palestinians if we fired them.” ”

    more here:

    link to haaretz.com

    BDS this *&^% co. Make the bubbles go away forever.

    • amigo
      January 29, 2014, 7:07 am

      Just, I was about to post that trollop from Birnbaum.You beat me to it.

      Rank hypocracy.

  9. amigo
    January 29, 2014, 7:01 am

    I just voted at midday Irish time wed 29th and the result is 79% yes and 21% no.

    It looks as if the hasbarists are slowly starting to make this “Escarjo.”

    The text messages are bouncing back and forth.Hasbara central is in all hands on deck mode.Losing this poll would be a major loss for the zios.

    Let your fingers do the talking .The more publicity this gets the better for BDS.

  10. bilal a
    January 29, 2014, 7:48 am

    Is it true Greenwald got 250 million dollars for his new media company startup, and how much did the Guardian get to avoid an interference in contracts lawsuit?

    We’re kvetching about oxfam and meanwhile it will take 42 years to release all of the Snowden documents at the current rate, nothing yet on Israel ?

    [ curious about these allegations greenwald suppressed aclu state secret privilege lawsuits]
    ~~http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-nC36D3nBk

    who ever at the Guardian or elsewhere , who has the NSA documents can blackmail obama / usa intelligence into not releasing what , about Israel, UK ?

    • Walker
      January 29, 2014, 3:12 pm

      At 3:00 PM EST on Wednesday it’s 65% drop Johansson, 35% keep her.

    • Ellen
      January 30, 2014, 4:25 am

      bilal, there are a number of misrepresentations in that video discussion.

      Starting with the initial level of funding for Omidyar’s investigative media venture:

      link to theguardian.com

      Omidyar, who provided the funding, will also serve as the organization’s publisher. Omidyar’s first capital outlay represents 20 percent of his initial commitment to the media venture. First Look Media will publish robust coverage of politics, government, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, arts and culture, business, technology, and investigative news.

      link to omidyargroup.com
      It will be interesting to follow. Am sure it was an attractive new gig for Greenwald — financially and otherwise.

  11. Henry Norr
    January 30, 2014, 1:21 am

    Victory!!! She quit the Oxfam gig:

    Scarlett Johansson stepping down as Oxfam ambassador over SodaStream deal

    Derrik J. Lang, The Associated Press and Derrik Lang, The Associated Press
    Jan 29, 2014 10:59:29 PM

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

    A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

    “Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”

    Earlier this month, “The Avengers” and “Her” actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

    SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.

    In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic co-operation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”

    Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

    Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.

    Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

    Based on the trends in the Guardian voting, it looked like the Zionists would have won. But now that this has happened, who cares?

    • talknic
      January 30, 2014, 1:48 am

      She’d rather be on the side of illegal activities in Occupied Territories? AMAZING what ziocaine does

      • Citizen
        January 30, 2014, 3:45 am

        Never underestimate the power of a superiority complex masked as empathy/sympathy for selected victims.

      • seafoid
        January 30, 2014, 4:13 am

        Money solves many problems but it won’t bring security to Israel

    • Ecru
      January 30, 2014, 2:09 am

      Not a victory at all. Oxfam fundamentally failed. They dithered (no doubt thanks to Oxfam USA – an organisation that European Oxfams should certainly distance themselves from now) instead of acting with alacrity to get rid of this vapid actress whose prime loyalty is obviously to “the tribe.” As it stands their “brand” is now tarnished in the eyes of many existing and would be donators. Who can believe a single word they say now when they claim to be a “principled” organisation?

    • eGuard
      January 30, 2014, 5:24 am

      Well, of course she should have dropped the other contract. And it is Oxfam who should have ended this one days ago.

    • hophmi
      January 30, 2014, 7:21 am

      “Victory!!”

      Lol. Like Nasser’s victory in the Six Day War.

    • just
      January 30, 2014, 7:50 am

      ” it looked like the Zionists would have won. ”

      They won’t. They just lost– big time. So did Scarlett. Yay. Thanks so much Scarlett– you brought attention to BDS this January.

      Oxfam and BDS win!

  12. Henry Norr
    January 30, 2014, 2:20 am

    You seem to be arguing, Ecru, that it’s not a victory for Oxfam. I agree with you on that. But the very fact that her gig with SodaStream generated a very public controversy, and that Oxfam said clearly that the settlements are illegal and that it didn’t approve of trade with them, and that at least significant forces within the organization apparently weren’t willing to buy the stupid BS she put out the other day, makes the episode a victory for the Palestinians and the BDS movement, IMO.

  13. talknic
    January 30, 2014, 3:17 am

    “Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years, “

    There is nothing respectful in deciding to stay with a company illegally profiting from the Occupied Territories rather than staying with Oxfam!

    • Walid
      January 30, 2014, 6:36 am

      Good riddance. More from Reuters:

      “… “Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down,” the group said in a statement. “Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.”

      “Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”

      In a statement reported in the American media, Johansson’s spokesman wrote that “she and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

      • Justpassingby
        January 30, 2014, 7:46 am


        “In a statement reported in the American media, Johansson’s spokesman wrote that “she and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

        Wow she is really a hardcore zionist!

      • seafoid
        January 30, 2014, 8:37 am

        “Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.””

        Ms Johannsen’s eyebrow schtick is obviously more important than her humanity.

  14. Citizen
    January 30, 2014, 3:49 am

    As of 3:47AM (EST) Thursday, January 30
    55% Yes
    45% No

    Get over there and vote to offset the well-organized Ziofreaks.

  15. Citizen
    January 30, 2014, 4:05 am

    ScarlettJohansson quits Oxfam ambassador role 2 maintain her lucrative Zionism link to gu.com via @guardian
    Bubbles over Palestine

  16. asherpat
    January 30, 2014, 6:58 am

    13% of Guardinistas against!? What is the world coming to?!!

  17. Justpassingby
    January 30, 2014, 7:44 am

    Lol this woman leaving Oxfam for SS (sodastream)!

    Good job everyone, shows that pressure works!

  18. iResistDe4iAm
    January 31, 2014, 6:50 am

    For the record, the poll closed early — the final results:

    Do you think Oxfam should sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?
    YES – 53% (5791)
    NO — 47% (5089)
    This poll is now closed

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