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Oxfam expresses ‘concerns’ over Scarlett Johansson’s support for settlement product

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Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson

Things are heating up very fast for Scarlett Johansson. Since the news broke of her stepping into her new role as global ambassador for the occupation-profiteering seltzer corporation SodaStream, activists have been pressuring Oxfam to urge Johansson to end her deal with SodaStream– and if she doesn’t, Oxfam should end its relationship with her.

Oxfam Logo
Oxfam Logo

Johansson is a global ambassador for Oxfam. Her picture is featured on the NGO’s site. Last night an Oxfam executive sent out an email saying Oxfam Great Britain was engaged in dialogue with Johansson.

Later Oxfam updated its website page on Johansson to include that news under the heading “Association with Israeli company, SodaStream”:

We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice. As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty, and she has helped to raise critical funds for life-saving and poverty-fighting work around the world. We deeply value her support.

Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues.

Oxfam ambassador Scarlett Johansson visits Dadaab, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world (photo: Oxfam)
Oxfam ambassador Scarlett Johansson visits Dadaab, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world (photo: Oxfam)

Johansson’s ambassadorship with Oxfam, an international confederation of 17 organizations working in more than 90 countries, committed to human rights, and dedicated to “chang[ing] that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty,” is in direct contradiction to her role as global ambassador for a company that profits from apartheid in the occupied West Bank: SodaStream.

Last week we asked how soon before Johansson’s ties to SodaStream would bring her relationship with Oxfam into question.  In 10 days time, on Feb 2, a much touted SodaStream commercial featuring Johansson will be broadcast at the Superbowl. Between now and then something’s gotta break. The chance she can glide through the next 10 days unscathed and remain an ambassador for both seems low.

Oxfam– and a movie star– have been through this before:

You may remember that [Kristin] Davis’s role as an “Oxfam Ambassador” was threatened by her association with Ahava cosmetics, also based in the occupied territories. In the end Davis stayed with Oxfam after severing ties with Ahava.

And in 2012 Oxfam Italy cuts ties with author and well-known radio personality Paola Maugeri over her ambassadorship for SodaStream Italy.

What choice will Johansson make?

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It’s pretty clear she has no conscience. She was hardly sleepwalking into this issue. She basically supports Apartheid and she can no longer hide behind the veil of ignorance. (“I didn’t KNOW where Sodastream’s factories were!!!”) The question should now be turned to Oxfam and I’m pleased that it is. The BDS movement in 2014 is far stronger than it was in 2005 so it’s hard to imagine that Oxfam will be able to stay… Read more »

Israel National News-Arutz Sheva ,the official mouthpiece of the settler movement is completely numb on the Sodastream-Bubble Bimbo issue. So are the pro-settlement sites. So is Miss Johansson. Could it be they don’t trust this whole story. I find it hard to believe that in the current political climate Sodastream (and Scarlett) really thought they could get away with this. I don’t want to take away anything from the wonderful people dedicating themselves to fighting… Read more »

“concern” right..

Kick that lady out Oxfam!

Besides why havent Scarlett made any work with palestinians during her time at Oxfam? Is there a bigger bias lying around here perhaps?

Scarlett does not seem to care about Palestinians. Is that part of her value system as a self-described ” NY Jew”? Time will tell. As an aside, I wonder what her Scandavian dad thinks about her position in this matter. Anybody know? Doesn’t she owe something to him since her physical beauty has a lot to do with him?

Sounds to me like the great walk-back.