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Grandson of Oxfam founder calls on org to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson

on 21 Comments
(Image via Twitter)

(Image via Twitter)

The following letter is being sent today to the Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser and was shared with Mondoweiss:

Raymond Offenheiser
President, Oxfam America
226 Causeway, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114

Dear Mr. Offenheiser,

I am writing to you as an American citizen and direct descendent of Professor Gilbert Murray and Dr. Henry Gillett, two founders of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (the original Oxfam).

I am alarmed that Oxfam America retains as one of its “celebrity ambassadors” Scarlett Johansson despite her becoming the highly paid public face of SodaStream. As is well known, this Israeli company manufactures its products in the city-settlement of Maale Adumim, which is not just illegal under international law, but also vitiates the possibility of any future Palestinian state by cutting the West Bank into two pieces.

The ongoing credibility of Oxfam depends on its adhering to its founding principles, which include “the relief of suffering as a result of wars or of other causes in any part of the world.” Maale Adumim, and by its association, SodaStream, are among just such causes of the suffering of the Palestinian people. Scarlett Johansson, by endorsing the kind of SodaStream propaganda that underwrites the Israeli occupation, is acting as an ambassador for oppression.

I urge Oxfam America to disassociate itself from Ms. Johansson so long as she chooses to represent SodaStream. I am certain my grandfather and great-uncle would agree with me.

Yours sincerely,

Hubert Murray, FAIA, RIBA

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21 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 27, 2014, 11:49 am


  2. Krauss
    January 27, 2014, 11:53 am

    Oxfam is a corrupted organization. This happens to many social justice organizations as they grow.

    They’ve written that they are in “dialogue” with Scarlett. When she made clear, in no uncertain terms, that she has zero regrets about her pro-settlement/pro-Apartheid stance, where are they now?

    They choose celebrity over principles. Why? Fundraising.
    This is what happens when you treasure money over justice.

    And this is supposed to be a “social justice” organization?

    Oxfam is run by a group of moral midgets. They are pissing on a proud legacy of anti-racism for the sake of monied interests and fundraising/PR efforts.


    • Walid
      January 27, 2014, 3:38 pm

      Oxfam will come through, Krauss, it’s a great organization. It’s more than about simple dialogue, it has come out with a categorical statement about its opposition to trade with the Israeli settlements and can’t back out now; I’m guessing Johansson is being given the opportunity by Oxfam to make a graceful exit, probably right after the Super Bowl:

      “… 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 been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam. Oxfam is now considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

  3. hophmi
    January 27, 2014, 11:53 am

    Dear Mr. Murray:

    Will you call on Oxfam to return the millions it received from Coca-Cola, a company with one of the worst labor records on Earth?

    • amigo
      January 27, 2014, 12:34 pm

      Dear Mr Hopme, will you call on Oxfam to end it,s collaboration with British Jewry in trying to prevent boycotts on contraband being shipped from the illegal settlements.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      January 27, 2014, 12:38 pm

      Hey you!!! Don’t look at THAT! Look at THIS!

      The hasbara version of the three-card trick.

      • Kathleen
        January 27, 2014, 2:06 pm


      • hophmi
        January 28, 2014, 7:20 am

        I didn’t tell you to look anywhere. Once again, I’m pointing out the massive hypocrisy of your movement.

    • Walid
      January 27, 2014, 3:43 pm

      ” Will you call on Oxfam to return the millions it received… ”

      Be nice to Oxfam, hophmi, you may yet become in need of its benevolence, especially with the big number of poor and malnourished children in Israel.

    • Ecru
      January 27, 2014, 5:23 pm

      Why? Surely using Coca-Colas money to fight Coca-Cola would be the best use for it?

      Now – can we get back to the subject at hand instead of just trying to deflect attention elsewhere….again?

    • Djinn
      January 27, 2014, 5:35 pm

      I don’t like that they accept donations from companies looking to paper over their crimes however coca-Cola do not have a formal relationship with Oxfam and it is clearly not the same thing and you know it.

    • Talkback
      January 28, 2014, 8:17 am

      Dear Mr. Hopmi,

      will you return everything you have stolen from Palestinians?

  4. amigo
    January 27, 2014, 12:00 pm

    This is rich.

    “In October 2009, Oxfam was accused by Israeli NGO Regavim of aiding Palestinians in illegal activities in Kiryat Arba, including water theft. Oxfam has denied its participation.[47] ” wiki

    It sure does not appear that Oxfam is at the top of the list of invitees to the Illegal settlements.

    Drop her and do it fast.

  5. pabelmont
    January 27, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Out with Scarlett, noisily and publicly and without ANY farther dickering. What’s left to be said?

  6. Fritz
    January 27, 2014, 1:16 pm

    Is Oxfam US as corrupt as Amnesty US under the former General Secretary Suzanne Nossel? Main goal: “to cement the US’ position of dominance worldwide”.

  7. Sycamores
    January 27, 2014, 1:16 pm

    Oxfam needs to distance itself from SJ as soon as possible before they lose all credibility.

    Oxfam also needs to understand the illegal settlement Ma’ale Adumim where SS is situated is a major lynchpin in israeli expansionism and putting an end to any possible viable Palestinian state.

    Sodastream is helping israel to destroy the two-state solution.

    the Israeli company SodaStream is situated on a illegal settlement in the West Bank call Ma’ale Adumim.
    Ma’ale Adumim is eight miles east of Jersulam deep inside the West Bank and effectively cuts what’s left of Palestine in two. in other words without territorial continuity they can’t be a viable Palestinian state.

    Ma’ale Adumim is strategically place to prevent a Palestinian state. the illegal settlement is also known as ‘israel linchpin settlement’ exposing israel expansionism.

    so for all those who support SJ and SS well done for putting an end to the two-state solution.

    for further info on Ma’ale Adumim and sodastream read Nima Shirazi (contributing writer for Mondoweiss), Scarlett’s Letter: Sodastream’s Global Apartheid Ambassador & Enduring Effervescence of Ethnic Cleansing

  8. DICKERSON3870
    January 27, 2014, 1:40 pm

    RE: “Grandson of Oxfam founder calls on org to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson”

    • From: Ramah Kudaimi, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
    • Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 1:00 PM
    • Subject: Scarlett Johansson: Don’t Be the Face of Occupation!

    Urge Oxfam Global Ambassador to End Support for SodaStream

    Dear John,

    On January 10, 2014, occupation profiteer SodaStream announced that Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson had

    become their first-ever Global Brand Ambassador. Her first act in her role will be starring in SodaStream’s

    Super Bowl ad, which will be aired during the game’s fourth quarter on February 2.

    Scarlett happens to be an Oxfam Global Ambassador, a role that includes a responsibility to “push forward the

    fight against poverty and injustice.”

    Sign our petition to Scarlett: Don’t Be the Face of Occupation!


    • oneof5
      January 28, 2014, 3:30 am

      Mr. D,

      The wife and I signed the petition.

      BTW, I want to thank you – several days ago I found a link you posted in the comments on Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam blog back in 2009 to an article on the difference between Judaism and Zionism.

  9. Kathleen
    January 27, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Folks might want to think about sharing this one by Adam,

  10. Sycamores
    January 27, 2014, 6:52 pm

    “Internal revolt” at Oxfam over Scarlett Johansson affair, insider says

    Oxfam insider reveals internal strife over SJ and her deal with SS

    Oxfam operates as an international federation with national affiliates including Oxfam America, Oxfam GB, Oxfam Belgium and, in The Netherlands, Oxfam Novib.

    it seems that Oxfam America are calling the shots similar to how the US uses its veto in the UNSC to leave israel carry on with its apartheid and expansionism policies.

    Unlike other national affiliates, “Oxfam America doesn’t invest one cent in the Palestinian territories, or even Israel. They don’t have any programs in the West Bank or Gaza,” the insider explained.

    “Yet they [Oxfam America] always claim that anything Oxfam says on Palestine or Israel affects their fundraising. They almost have veto power on what Oxfam does on Palestine,” the insider added.

    While these tensions have been present for some time, the Johansson episode has brought the “anger” to the surface within the organization, the insider said.

    The insider noted that the situation became much worse after Matt Herrick, spokesperson for Oxfam America, told The New York Times’ blog The Lede last week that Oxfam had not even asked Johansson to end her deal with SodaStream.

    “There are a lot of good people at Oxfam who are really pissed off at what Johannson did and even more pissed off at Matt Herrick’s comment,” the insider said.

    Oxfam will not come out of this untarnish. undoubtedly they are a lot of good people at Oxfam hopefully they can amend the damage that’s done.
    however the extensive media exposure to both SJ and SS will do them irrepairable harm in the future (it’s starting already), their credibility can be bought off with a few shekels. may the apartheid queen reign supreme with sodastream because no one else with good conscience will go near her with a barge pole.

  11. kalithea
    January 28, 2014, 1:10 am

    That picture is very effective in exposing the truth, and whether you insert the cattle cages behind her, or the house demolitions at gunpoint or the impoverished refugee ghettos, the message is the same: staggering contradiction. This woman stands for nothing. She has no integrity and what she’s really selling is depravity.

    Oxfam needs to present a consistent message and distance itself from a woman that at best is demonstrating appalling judgment and trying to justify it, and at worst is promoting occupation, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid.

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