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Calls grow for Oxfam to drop Scarlett Johansson following her defense of Israeli occupation

(Image: Stephanie Westbrook)

(Image: Stephanie Westbrook)

Groups working for Palestinian rights are urging Oxfam International to take immediate action and break its ties with Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson after she issued a statement supporting Israel’s military occupation and human rights abuses.

On January 10, SodaStream, which makes home carbonating devices, announced that Johansson had become their first-ever Global Brand Ambassador. SodaStream has been targeted globally for boycott due to the company’s main production site being in an illegal West Bank settlement and its exploitation of Palestinian land, resources, and labor.

Johansson also serves as a Global Ambassador for Oxfam International, which considers settlements to be a major barrier to peace and contributor to poverty. Following international outcry, Oxfam stated that it was engaged in a dialogue with the actress. But on January 24, Scarlett released a statement standing behind the SodaStream product and praising their work environment.  An Oxfam spokesperson then told the Electronic Intifada, “Oxfam is now considering the implications [of] her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

“Scarlett Johansson completely whitewashes Israel’s brutal military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land by asserting SodaStream propaganda that the company is ‘building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine,'” said Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “How can a company based in an illegal settlement and profiting from the abuse of Palestinian rights contribute in any way to peace? Ms. Johansson has come out for occupation and against principles of freedom, justice, and equality. We demand Oxfam respond immediately and drop her as their Global Ambassador in accordance with their own stated position that settlements are a major barrier to peace and contributor to poverty.”

Patrick Connors from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel added: “We are shocked to learn that Scarlett Johansson believes that Sodastream’s construction of a factory on stolen Palestinian land and exploitation of a captive labor force held under a brutal Israeli military occupation furthers ‘equal rights.’ We’re disturbed by her assertion that Israel’s colonial domination of Palestinians constitutes ‘communities joining together’ for peace. Given Ms. Johansson’s ringing endorsement of Israel’s military occupation, settlement and economic exploitation of Palestinians in direct contradiction of international law and fundamental Oxfam positions, Oxfam must immediately drop her as an Oxfam Global Ambassador if it is to maintain its credibility.”

“Scarlett Johansson just doesn’t get it. Sodastream’s factory is located in an illegal settlement in the West Bank, profiting from the exploitation of Palestinian labor and resources that is endemic to military occupation. These conditions are the furthest thing from equal rights or ‘communities joining together’ for peace,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “It is entirely inappropriate for Oxfam to continue to use Ms. Johansson as a Global Ambassador, given her statement directly contradicts Oxfam’s strong position against Israeli settlements.”

“Scarlett Johansson touts the SodaStream factory in the Occupied West Bank as an Edenic scene of ‘equal rights’ and ‘social and economic cooperation.’ She needs a reality tour of the Occupied West Bank, starting with the dystopian cattle chute that is the Qalandiya Checkpoint,” said Nancy Kricorian of CODEPINK Women for Peace. “Oxfam must suspend Johansson from publicity work for the duration of her SodaStream contract in the way that they suspended Ahava spokesmodel Kristin Davis in 2009. Anything less is pure hypocrisy.”

“Scarlett Johansson portrays SodaStream’s Ma’ale Adumim factory as an ideal workplace for Palestinian laborers, but a worker interviewed there recently said he feels like he is enslaved. In 2013 SodaStream refused to allow Corporate Watch to visit their factory and would not respond to questions about the minimum wage paid, options for unionization and promotion, and the exclusion of the local Palestinian Bedouin population from employment in the factory,” said Andrew Kadi, Steering Committee member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “A job with poor working conditions, in an Israeli factory on stolen Palestinian land, within a context where Palestinians’ own economic development is stifled by Israel’s military occupation is not anything that Scarlett Johansson should be touting. Palestinians need freedom and human rights, not sweatshop jobs in factories run by Israelis.”

US groups continued to call for people to join more than 6,300 others by signing a petition asking Johansson to end her relationship with SodaStream and asked concerned individuals to call on Oxfam America to push Johansson to end her relationship with SodaStream and drop her as a Global Ambassador if she does not.

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is the largest and most diverse coalition working to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality. Learn more at

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47 Responses

  1. just on January 25, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Bravo! This is awesome and puts Israel’s illegal & cruel Occupation and flaunting of International Law front and center.

    Thanks Scarlett.

    Oxfam, live up to your mission and drop her like the supporter of Occupation and apartheid that she has proven herself to be.

  2. Justpassingby on January 25, 2014, 5:32 pm

    Its like if the police trying to stop the killing spree in one town but collaborates with the killer.

    As the user just said above:

    “Oxfam, live up to your mission and drop her like the supporter of Occupation and apartheid that she has proven herself to be.”

  3. Herb Glatter on January 25, 2014, 5:43 pm

    yeah Oxfam drop ScarJo, and SodaStream move your plant somewhere else, and all the palestinians who lose their jobs and the thousands of people who depend on them – too bad. they are martyrs for the cause.

    • just on January 25, 2014, 7:10 pm

      Thanks for your concern- trolling, Herb.

      How refreshing– have you had your Occupation/illegal settler bubbles today?

      Your stock is plummeting, btw.

    • Cliff on January 25, 2014, 7:36 pm

      @Herb the concern-troll

      Palestinians aren’t on some Israeli life-support.

      Israel is a leech that has sapped the life out of the Palestinian people – making them dependent on the Israeli control over their lives.

      It’s not as if the Palestinians WANT TO bulldoze their own homes – if they don’t, they have to pay the Israelis to do it.

      It’s not as if the Palestinians WANT TO work for SS – if they don’t, they’re not only under Israeli occupation, but they’re out of an occupation while being under occupation.

      You Zionist liars make it seem as if there is no overarching system of control going on here that has narrowed the options for the Palestinian people.

      It all comes back to the settlements and the occupation and the apartheid.

      If you get the **** out of their lives and stop abusing them, they will recover.

      They aren’t animals. They don’t need Israeli Jewish handlers.

      • Herb Glatter on January 25, 2014, 9:11 pm

        I post my name, why don’t you post yours?

      • Ellen on January 26, 2014, 4:45 am

        Herb Glatter, and your point is???

    • eljay on January 25, 2014, 9:15 pm

      >> yeah Oxfam drop ScarJo, and SodaStream move your plant somewhere else …

      … and colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel:
      – end your occupation;
      – return to within your / Partition boundaries;
      – honour your obligation to repatriate refugees from your part of Palestine;
      – accept responsibility for your past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:16 am


  4. ritzl on January 25, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Thanks for the article and your efforts.

    I sure would like to know how she made the move to rep SS. She or somebody around her must have known this would be controversial, especially since she already had exposure to injustice elsewhere through Oxfam.

    Is it possible that she and her coterie are just that blind when it comes to Israel? A case of believing your own/Israeli BS? That Israel is not/just couldn’t be like “those other places?” There must be an explanation, isn’t there?

    Are many others outside her circle this [at this point] willfully blind? Are there people that still see Israel as doing no wrong (as opposed to “collateral/necessary damage,” RWitty types, or the knowingly a/immoral Sharon types)? People that actually, simply, and literally do not see the Palestinians. It would explain, though not excuse, a lot.

    Somebody trusted somebody on this SJ-SS opportunity, and got betrayed. That’s no excuse for not doing your homework though.

    Or alternately, if I was in Obama-defender mode, I would say she knew about SS and sacrificed either her political aspirations or her box office appeal to bring attention to the issue. Way to go, Scarlett!!

    • joecatron on January 25, 2014, 6:15 pm

      It would be unlikely for her to have grown up in New York without exposure to any Zionist sentiments whatsoever.

      That might or might not be the factor at work here, of course.

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:18 am

        Add money and the blanks are filled in

    • Citizen on January 25, 2014, 6:23 pm

      She’s just an ignorant, dummy, looking for ways to get more money. Very American eh?

      • puppies on January 26, 2014, 6:57 am

        @Citizen – Money, of course, plus the assurance of doing a good deed. As Joe Catron observed, she has had that NY Zionism. Bet you anything she discovered only now, at age 23, that anyone in the world could ever object to Zionism, how horribly wicked!

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:19 am

        I believe she knew what she was doing. Under estimated the response

    • Ellen on January 26, 2014, 5:08 am

      It is the MONEY!!! That is all.

      she is no Dusty Springfield, “I don’t know about politics, but I think anybody, if they want to buy a ticket they should be allowed to do so.” Springfield wrote an anti apartheid clause into her performance contracts in the early 60’s. She was an artist who wanted freedom to perform for anyone.

      Johansson is cashing in while she can. And penned (or her handlers did) a disgusting and condescending “clearing the air” apologetics to the public on her way to the bank.

      • ritzl on January 26, 2014, 1:07 pm

        Agree, Ellen. It is about the money in the short-term, but at what long-term cost? Kind of a “price of everything, value of nothing” exercise, imho. Very short-sighted.

        This wasn’t very well thought out from her perspective. It did create a giant, unforeseen opportunity from everyone else’s.

  5. American on January 25, 2014, 5:58 pm

    I would like to see her dropped by Oxfam.
    Some ‘pricetagging’ of supporters of Israel’s occupation is long overdue.
    Cost ’em. Make an example of them.

    • Sibiriak on January 26, 2014, 6:01 am


      I would like to see her dropped by Oxfam.
      Some ‘pricetagging’ of supporters of Israel’s occupation is long overdue

      And should Oxfam pay a price if they stick with her?

      • Ellen on January 26, 2014, 6:41 am

        Price tag actions are revenge motivated. And revenge is an ugly and primitive motivation.

        Oxfam will loose it’s already “somewhat credibility” by it’s possible lack of action. It will happen on its own.

        Johansson has big-time dinged her marketability by herself.

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:22 am

        Oxfam has to drop her to maintain their credibility. She will choose to drop her Ambassadorship with Oxfam due to an overwhelming schedule. Wonder if they would go so far as to say they have distinct differences over human rights and abiding by international law

      • American on January 26, 2014, 1:05 pm

        Ellen says:
        January 26, 2014 at 6:41 am
        Price tag actions are revenge motivated>>>>

        Not necessarily. Unless you think denying your child ice creme or some other treat because he behaved badly to his siblings or others is parental revenge.
        101 Lesson–act fairly to others, get a reward, do wrong things, lose something.

    • seafoid on January 26, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Some ‘pricetagging’ of supporters of Israel’s occupation is long overdue.

      • shachalnur on January 26, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Funny you show up with this video.

        “Price tag” by a new singer as a lauchpad to fame,and a video that is completely symbolic in lyrics and images.

        These videos are psy-op’s ,a kind of in your face insult and a demonstration of how TPTB play with hoi polloi.

        Try “Jessie J’s “Price Tag; It’s not about the money ,it’s about mind control”.

        Don’t be surprised if it turns out that the Sodastream/ Scarlett operation is just another psy-op,and maybe even Sodastream itself might be one.

  6. pabelmont on January 25, 2014, 6:22 pm

    OXFAM should drop her if she has not dropped SodaStream (the other “SS”) within 1 week. One week is long enough for her to “get it” (either get the politics or get the pressure on her or get the international law).

    Also, since SS says it is getting a tax break by being where it is, it is clear that it is there as part of a government project to settle OPTs, which is illegal as to Israel whether or not (I’d say not) it is illegal as to SS itself.

    • Philip Munger on January 25, 2014, 9:25 pm

      I’ll be surprised if Oxfam keeps her past Monday. It is pathetic how Huffington Post is keeping a lot of honest comments from being posted at her article.

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:27 am

        Folks should go over and add their comments. Watch if they make it up. Mine did not make it up first day then tried again the next and it made it up. There are some well thought out and fact based comments that have now made it through.

        First day the criticisms were not making it up. Second day they were getting through

        A few examples from Huff Po:

        “Too bad Palestinians can’t actually live in Ma’alei Adumim. Or drive their own cars to get there. Like all Jewish settlements it is a ‘for Jews only’ city. Too bad Palestinians don’t receive the infrastructure afforded to Ma’alei Adumim when they return home, and too bad they live under military Occupation (which is responsible for infrastructure of an occupied nation). It’s not only about the specific product, it’s about illegal settlements, military Occupation and massive dispossession. Whatever you think of Soda Stream itself, it thrives in the context of occupation. It’s about the Occupation. That is what you are promoting Scarlett. Check out the film, “Have You Heard from Johannesburg” to understand the context. Or “5 Broken Cameras” or travel to the West Bank and talk to Palestinians away from the glare of the camera. Maybe you will come away with a different perspective.”

        “Sorry Scarlett ….. supporting Sodastream is directly supporting and profiting from apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

        Totally unacceptable.”

        Add your comment:

      • Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 10:33 am

        I think they will wait until Monday the day after super bowl. Would be really bad advertising for her to drop Oxfam or for Oxfam to drop her before then. They have probably all ready negotiated this. Although Oxfam would really be demonstrating they mean what they say if they gave her a deadline before the super bowl. That would be really powerful.

      • RudyM on January 26, 2014, 10:33 am

        Huffington Post being pathetic? I’m shocked.

  7. DICKERSON3870 on January 25, 2014, 9:42 pm

    RE: “But on January 24, Scarlett released a statement [most likely written by SodaStream – J.L.D.] standing behind the SodaStream product and praising their work environment.” ~ US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

    “SodaStream is outside the mainstream”, By Jordan Ash, Daily Planet, 9/11/12

    [EXCERPTS] . . . SodaStream is an Israeli company with its main factory in the industrial park of Ma’aleh Adumim, the largest Israeli Jewish settlement in the West Bank. . .
    . . . SodaStream built its factory in the settlement in order to receive financial incentives from the Israeli government, and like all businesses in the settlements’ industrial parks, SodaStream qualifies for ongoing tax deductions.

    As with the Maquiladoras along the U.S.-Mexican border, the high unemployment rate means that many Palestinians are forced to try to earn a living through jobs in the settlements, despite the low pay and harsh working conditions.
    Palestinian workers in the settlements do not enjoy the full protection of Israeli labor laws. They must get special permits and security clearance just to be able to enter these factories. Involvement in a labor dispute constitutes a security risk and can result in the loss of not only a worker’s current job but their ability to work in settlements in the future. Thus, many Palestinian workers do not demand their legal employment rights due to fear of losing their work permit.
    At the SodaStream factory, when workers protested that they were being paid less than half of the minimum wage and were forced to work 12 hour days, they were fired. On another occasion, when workers who were fired and were still owed a month’s wages went to the factory to request their pay, SodaStream had them removed from the factory and banned from the entire industrial park.
    As with all business in the illegal settlements, SodaStream pays taxes to Israel, not to the Palestinian Authority. The municipal taxes that SodaStream pays are used exclusively to support the growth and development of the settlement through things such as roads, education, and sewage treatment. . .


    • DICKERSON3870 on January 25, 2014, 10:16 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Can SodaStream Management Work Margin Magic?”, by Michael Krakower,, 1/24/14

      [EXCERPT] First things first: SodaStream International (SODA) is cheaper than it has ever been. The current P/E multiple of roughly 16.5 is substantially lower than investors in this stock are used to. Take a look at the P/E ratio over the last three years. The recent correction has incited a debate among watchers of the stock as to whether the current price presents an attractive entry point, or leaves the stock just a little less overvalued than it once was. I personally belong to the camp that sees real potential in a long investment at these levels, and I’ll tell you exactly why: sound management.

      Yes, The Concerns Are Very Real

      SodaStream machines may very well just be a fad. From the troubling product mix, it seems that many consumers buy the machines, or receive them as gifts, only to let them collect dust atop countertops nationwide. For SodaStream, this is troubling, and the realization is the main reason the stock took a nose-dive early last week. The company slashed guidance of the 2013 net income from a 23% increase down to a 5.5% decrease. This is legitimate reason for concern and has sent many analysts running.

      SodaStream makes the majority of their money when its users make soda using the company’s proprietary syrups and CO2 canisters, not when they buy soda making machines. Think of it this way, each soda machine is an asset for SodaStream. They are willing to sell them essentially at cost [i.e., cost using slave labor] knowing that their continued use will drive in massive profits. The only problem is that they aren’t being used. In keeping with the soda machines as assets idea, SodaStream is not making efficient use of its capital. It would be as if a manufacturing company purchased a factory, and then let it sit idly unused. The good news is that management is abundantly aware of this problem, and they are doing everything they can to fix it. . .
      . . . In the January 13, 2014 statement in which SodaStream lowered guidance for 2013 earnings, CEO Daniel Birnbaum did not beat around the bush: “We failed to deliver our profit targets and are disappointed in our fourth quarter performance.” He then assured, “We are moving quickly to implement the necessary measures to restore margins to historical levels in the coming year.”
      All signs indicate that those necessary measures include an all out marketing blitz featuring newly signed brand ambassador Scarlett Johannson and the roll out of SodaStream’s brand new product line: SodaCaps.
      SodaCaps are single-use flavor capsules intended to cater to the needs of more casual users who rarely purchase entire syrup bottles, the exact market segment that the company needs to arouse. It can be reasonably assumed that the SodaCaps are modeled off of Green Mountain Coffee’s (GMCR) wildly successful K-Cups. SodaStream has purchased an ad spot in February 2nd’s Super Bowl to officially introduce the new product line.
      The Caps have been available for about two months now, but it would be unfair to judge their success at this point for a couple of reasons. First of all, they haven’t been all that widely publicized, yet. Next week’s Super Bowl ad seeks to change that. The New York Post reports that teasers of the ad alone have driven consumer interest in the brand up by 700%. . .


      P.S. Photo of SodaStream Soda Caps

      • DICKERSON3870 on January 25, 2014, 10:38 pm

        P.P.S. ● SodaStream’s Innovative New Bottle Cap Solution [VIDEO, 02:02] –

        P.P.P.S. All that packaging for the SodaCaps doesn’t look very environmentally friendly to me! ! !

      • ritzl on January 26, 2014, 12:18 pm

        @Dickerson- P.P.P.S. All that packaging for the SodaCaps doesn’t look very environmentally friendly to me! ! !

        You got that right!

        Thanks for the info. Looks like treating their [low-cost] Palestinian labor like animals was indeed part of their core strategy of minimizing the buy-in for consumers and maximizing long-term profitability. In that strategy, BDS activism is a HUGE business risk. With SJ bringing all this negative attention to one of their keys to “success” they are magnifying that risk. Hopefully past the point of salvage. BDS, acknowledged or not in the bizpress, has an equally HUGE impact on SS’s success. Interesting, in at least a warning-to-those-that-may-follow sort of way.

        Actually, beyond interesting. Morality aside, this experience shows that BDS has the potential to hit the business side of “Brand Israel”/”Startup Nation” pretty hard. Whether or not SS survives this, as marc b. said was needed a few days ago, this experience almost surely moves BDS into a objective investment/business risk factor for Israeli businesses.

        And on the back-end, they don’t offer, and never will offer, brand name syrups.

        From their PoV, SJ is a band-aid on a flawed strategy, now itself a flawed strategy. An unwinnable situation in the biz sense. A Hail Mary.

        SS is hosed. On so many levels; management, business, morality, publicity, market.

    • Citizen on January 25, 2014, 11:53 pm

      Mr Christian himself, Huckabee, just told his adoring audience on his Fox channel show that Sodastream was a model company, with all workers getting equal pay with the Israelis and Palestinians living together in peace and harmony for the common good. The audience ate it up.

      • Daniel Rich on January 26, 2014, 5:54 am

        @ Citizen,

        Wanna join?

        And, a 1, 2, 3, 4, … Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya …

  8. Daniel Rich on January 26, 2014, 1:01 am

    Well, if the Oxfarm won’t drop this little piglet and the petite hog doesn’t mind Palestine being turned into an amoral pigsty, I’ll drop her. As of today, all Johansson movies [past, current and future] off the menu.


    • Denis on January 26, 2014, 10:12 am

      There ‘ya go, Dan. And the Coen bros, too. At least SJ didn’t refer to Arabs as camel fk’ers and collect a $1M “best Jews in the world” prize for doing it.

      Get off my fk’ing planet, with your racist, Zionist crap Ethan and Joel. Goodman, you’re out the door, too. Of course, when we complete this Zionist purge of Hollywood, the only actor standing will be Mel Gibson — if you call that “standing.”

  9. anonymouscomments on January 26, 2014, 3:54 am

    now that i realize sodastream is a public company with ticker on NASDAQ, not private… and it has many factories, not just the one illegally located in the OPT…

    when will the SODA stockholders vote to simply remove the illegal factory, as the only logical move to grow the company and seek the (mandated) best return for stockholders? which is also of course the moral step, but corps are largely amoral.

    are there some big shareholders who are expansionist zionists, and put illegal oppression and their twisted politics over the future growth of their own company/stock?

  10. Walid on January 26, 2014, 7:20 am

    From al-Arabiya about the Oxfam controversy:

    “Oxfam pans Scarlett Johansson over Israel ad deal

    The humanitarian group said that while it respects the independence of its ambassadors, it opposes “all trade” from Israeli settlements, claiming they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights. “We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues,” it said…”

    Full AP article:

    • Cliff on January 26, 2014, 8:38 am

      Walid, there’s nothing new in that article.

      Here is Oxfam’s webpage on SJ:

      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 her new statement and what it means for Ms Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.

      Oxfam has been updating that page as the story unfolds.

  11. Egbert on January 26, 2014, 7:35 am

    Another great image courtesy of

  12. shachalnur on January 26, 2014, 7:42 am

    I feel this Sodastream (keep your eye on the bubbles psy-op) is part of a longer term strategy:

    Did you know a new movie (“Under the skin”)is coming out soon starring a nude Scarlett Johansson taking her cloth off during most of the movie?

    It started with sexy IDF girls posting nude and racy pictures on FB.

    Then we had sexy (and very racist) Knesset member Ayelet Shaked(“So sexy and so nasty”)

    An Israeli “actress”(sic),Gal Gadot, with an eating disorder landed 3 movie contracts as “Wonder woman(sic)”.

    Now Scarlett is giving us “Keep your eyes on my Bubbles” and a follow-up movie that shows it all.

    It’s a well known psy-op called “Panic Sex”,”Do you want to hate/ kill me ,or do you want to hump me?”

    This has been going on for a year now,and it’s no coincidence and a proven tactics.

    It also shows that when the normal Hasbara and psy-ops don’t work anymore,you send in (prostitute ) the women to gather sympathy by going for the underbelly.

    Check out the Bonobo’s,they fix crises the same way.

    We’ll get a lot more of this,so keep it in(your dirty) mind.

  13. Denis on January 26, 2014, 10:17 am

    To whomever authored this post — thanks. A lot of solid information here we really need to see to understand this cluster fk called SodaStream and its modus operandi.

    If memory serves, it was not so much the sanctions [there weren’t any] or the boycott of SA that brought down that apartheid. It was Harvard et al. liberal institutions divesting in SA investments. When you get Harvard to divest in Israel, the earth will shake, the wall will crumble, and Sharon will roll over — paralyzed, dead, whatever, he will roll over. And that will be the end of . . . . . Harvard.

  14. Kathleen on January 26, 2014, 9:19 pm

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