The following letter is being sent today to the Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser and was shared with Mondoweiss:
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.
Hubert Murray, FAIA, RIBA