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Scarlett Johansson quits Oxfam over settlement row
Published Thursday 30/01/2014 (updated) 01/02/2014 21:24
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US actress Scarlett Johansson poses during a photocall at the
70th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido on September 3, 2013
(AFP/File Tiziana Fabi)
LONDON (AFP) -- US actress Scarlett Johansson has quit as global ambassador for Oxfam after the aid group deemed the role "incompatible" with her promotion of an Israeli firm that has a factory in the occupied West Bank.

Johansson's spokesman said Wednesday that the actress had a "fundamental difference" with Oxfam, a global humanitarian charity, over their opposition to trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

Johansson, 29, appears in an advertisement for home drinks carbonation firm SodaStream, which is due to air during the US Super Bowl on Sunday.

The Hollywood star has worked for Oxfam since 2005 but the British-based aid agency said she had stepped down due to her role with SodaStream.

"While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson's role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador," the charity said in a statement Thursday.

"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. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

SodaStream operates a large factory in an industrial zone of the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

Johansson had released a statement last week defending her decision to sign on with SodaStream as a global ambassador, saying the company was committed to "building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine."

"I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine," the statement said, adding that the Maale Adumim factory represented two communities working together while receiving "equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights."

On Monday, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, a coalition of Palestinian NGOs, trade unions and popular committees, called on Oxfam to "immediately sever ties" with Johansson over her public support for SodaStream.

"SodaStream markets itself as environmentally friendly, but this hides an ugly truth: the company is a colonial enterprise with its main production facility located in the settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied Palestinian territory," the group said in a statement on their website.

The illegal settlement of Maale Adumim is located in the controversial E1 corridor east of Jerusalem, which effectively divides the northern and southern West Bank.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
1 ) Israel is courted now by the / FAR EAST
30/01/2014 12:06
China, India, VIetnam, Europe is Passe. Boycotting Israel will ONLY HURT THE PALESTINIANS (Those thousands that WORK IN ISRAELI COMPANIES and ESTABLISHMENTS! Instead of harming ISRAEL--try to UPLIFT YOURSELF--oh NOBLE PALESTINAINS

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
30/01/2014 12:24
Yea, let's forget the peace process and tell all the Palestinians working in Israeli businesses they must immediately quit their jobs. That's what BDS wants. The BDS movement not only wants them unemployed, of course, so that they can say the "occupation" made them poor. When they are unemployed, the BDS people won't put food in their fridge, nor buy clothes for their kids. The BDS movement will, however, continue to try and make war, not peace.

3 ) Maureen / Australia
30/01/2014 12:56
Never heard of her. According to various media she describes herself as a New York City Jewish girl.

4 ) Brian Cohen / Palestine
30/01/2014 13:53
She put $$ over human rights. Therefore I quit her movies.

5 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
30/01/2014 13:56
Johansson's position is pretty clear. No mention by her of Israel's occupation and the fact that all of Israel's colonies built in the territories it occupied in 1967 are illegal under international law. She could have taken the matter up with Sodastream. But instead we get a vague statement about her continuing to support "economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine". Dear Scarlet, there is nothing democratic about Israel's brutal occupation!!!!

6 ) Philly / Palestine
30/01/2014 14:30
Its funny how opponents of the boycott movement in Palestine use the exact same arguments that anti-apartheid activists did in aouth africa 20 years ago. They were saying we couldnt boycott apartheid-South Africa as it would only hurt the blacks. We all know what happened then.. The same will happen with Israel until the occupation ends.

7 ) @ Ben-5 / USA
30/01/2014 14:54
Laws are subject to interpretation, and the "occupation & colonies" status is far from a straight forward issue, where:
- "Palestine" was never a real state until 2012, and
- Israel & Jews have real ancient claims !!

Oxfam should be able to accept integrity in their "global ambassadors",
and if not, Oxfam only harms itself (like other BDS participants), while:
- Scarlett Johansson needs Nothing from Oxfam, just like
- Israel needs Nothing from Oxfam !!

8 ) John / Usa
30/01/2014 15:19
Love you Scarlett just like you I wish peace can happen equally for both people

9 ) Y / Usa
30/01/2014 15:22
Y can't Palestinians build something other than bombs why must they show the world that they are useless

10 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
30/01/2014 15:56
In fact, I'm boycotting everything Australian until they end their illegal apartheid occupation of aboriginal land. Dittor for the USA and Canada. Settler bastards all of 'em. And South America. Illegally stolen nations one and all. And the Dutch, French, Belgians, Portugese and Spanish - until they make full reparations for their colonial crimes. What miserable criminals you all are.

11 ) Johnny benson / USA
30/01/2014 16:22
Go boycott...go beat your heads against the wall...see what it gets you.....nothing

12 ) Robby / USA
30/01/2014 16:47
Quite ironic that westerners call for the closing of this factory and the loss of hundreds of Palestinian jobs in order to "help" them. And if the factory were to move out of the "west bank" and into Israel those jobs would go to Israeli's, aren't those the people you want to hurt? Wonder what those Palestinians working in those factories say?

13 ) Robby / USA
30/01/2014 16:48
"BDS claims it wants only what is good for Palestinians no matter how many of them it has to hurt" Stu Bykoksky, Philadelphia Daily

14 ) jootoo / UK
30/01/2014 17:34
BDS is pressuring actress Scarlett Johansson to end her endorsement as SodaStream's global spokesperson – a deal that culminates next week in a high-profile Super Bowl ad. The alleged BDS objection: A SodaStream factory in the West Bank town of Ma’aleh Adumim, which – as reported in Al Arabiya – gainfully employs 900 Palestinians who work side-by-side with Israelis, share a dining hall, and earn wages and benefits equal to what the Israelis are receiving.

15 ) Joanna / Sweden
30/01/2014 17:37
@6 How would you describe yourself? Child of white European settlers. Or am I stereotyping you?

16 ) Maisie / UK
30/01/2014 18:44
Isn't it time once worthy charities stop having celebrity fronts. These people enhance their bankability (note Ms. Starlet's contracts entered into after being set up as a front for Oxfam, following the Kristin Davis/Ahava fiasco) as well as giving them gravitas. It insults those on the coalface of wretched wars, anonymous volunteers and citizens when we see a pretty or handsome face showing pain over a small child while wearing a flak jacket.

17 ) Maisie / UK
30/01/2014 18:50
In the case of Oxfam International, their reticence during the painfully long interval between Scarlett's taking on the role of front for SodaStream and her so-called withdrawal while adding fat to the fire by implying Oxfam's endorsement of BDS, they succeeded in allowing more oxygen to SodaStream. No matter what your position on this, one must acknowledge the sad trivializing of such a profoundly serious issue.

18 ) Jojo / CAR
30/01/2014 19:54
Diabetic insulin reliant in the BDS movement take note. Israel's Oramed, has developed the world's first insulin pill, moved a step closer to its goal Thursday by announcing successful results from a small mid-stage test. The oral drug delivery specialist said its insulin capsule had met all primary and secondary end points in a Phase IIa clinical trial. It now plans to launch a larger mid-stage study in the third quarter.

19 ) Julie / USA
30/01/2014 20:05
that she would even consider quitting a global charity org which helps countless people over 1 single stupid product to fizz water is so unbelievably disgusting and despicable. this tells the whole world exactly the person she is, a very heartless and stupid thug. not only will i boycott the dumb soda stream, i'm now boycotting anything/everything about her. i'm still disturbed that oxfam had to 'consider' what they'd do with her when it was a no-brainer to cut ties with her IMMEDIATELY

20 ) Johnny benson / USA
30/01/2014 20:06
She sure is cute.....how about it mel....your type of gal?

21 ) lynx / palestine
30/01/2014 20:07
Good riddance to Occupation and Apartheid Apologists. Someone tell this bimbo that some Palestinians work at the illegal settlements out of desperation and victimization not out of love for their occupiers!

22 ) How / Famous
30/01/2014 20:09
Maureen #3 - you can read about Scarlett Johansson at the following link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlett_Johansson. I am sure Scarlet has never heard about you as well.

23 ) Mandy Rutter / Namibia
30/01/2014 21:10
@6 '' We all know what happened then..'' you clearly have never been to South Africa, and seen the litany of broken African National Congress promises since it became the ruling party in 1994

24 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
30/01/2014 22:52
Hey Maureen - have a look at this Maan story: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=668811 It contains amazing revelations about Australia, and how much more racist and apartheid you are than Israel!

25 ) Susan Shaw / UK
30/01/2014 23:25
The whole notion of 'charity' itself has gone out of large charitable organisations. They now run as businesses, whose aim is to exact as much cash from the public for their cause. I'm with Maisie 16/17, charities should stop having celebrity fronts & consider what their actual function is meant to be. Ms Johansson is entitled to her political & moral views, but when these came into conflict with Oxfam's agenda, the split should have been immediate.

26 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
30/01/2014 23:35
Scarlet Johansson stepping down as Oxfam's ambassador is the right decision. Unfortunately she does not have the moral authority required for this prestigious position. I strongly urge Oxfam to think long and hard before inviting the next personality to become its figurehead.

27 ) Arnold / Canada
30/01/2014 23:47
Maureen # 3- "never heard of her" . Then get a life Maureen instead of surfing web sites to poison the world with your biases and stupidity.

28 ) Arnold / Canada
30/01/2014 23:57
Philly / Palestine # 6. The difference between S. Africa and Israel is that white S. Africa had nothing to offer the black population except for literally slave wages. Most businesses did not bother to hire the black populace. Everything was WHITE except for the skin color of the majority of people. The Palestinians can choose to work because the jobs are there for the taking. Good paying wages. And the country has way too many products that are demanded worldwide..... not blood diamonds.

29 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2014 00:17
Leaving aside all the lame rationalizations, lies, and hypocrisies of the Zionist brigade...this is good stuff. You can support Israel -- or you can be a good person. Increasingly, everyone has to choose.

30 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2014 00:23
The other good thing about this is that SodaStream is now clearly branded as a settlement product. Given a choice between making a political statement and just skipping the novel fizzy drink, most people and companies will just skip the novel fizzy drink. Not all publicity is good publicity.

31 ) Maureen / Australia
31/01/2014 00:54
#10 Brian Cohen That's a pity. You will be missing out on the gold and other mining interests some of your brethren have/are taking out of Aboriginal land! One such Jewish ordained Rabbi, gold mine owner, financed Netanyahu, 1990s! (Wikipedia) BTW, you should read what W. Hughes Australian P.M. alleged; Sat. Evening Post 19.6.1919. Sadly, many Jews were judged by the greedy few!

32 ) southparkbear / usa
31/01/2014 01:34
AXEfam like other so called left 'liberal' cannot stand opposing views. correction, cannot stand a tiny deviation from their view. interestingly those lvong heart get so mad when media tries to understand how much above 100000 pounds (over $165,000) those 30 senior managers of the charity in the UK make per year. where is the transparancy

33 ) David / Canada
31/01/2014 06:22
1. Ben-5 / USA You live in a hasbara induced fantasy land. Reality: UNSC Resolution 446 (22 March 1979): "...the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;.."

34 ) Ben Barka / Tanzania
31/01/2014 08:42
Long live the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. No doubt it has started biting. The days of Zionist Israel are over

35 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2014 20:34
To Brian Cohen #10: 'In fact, I'm boycotting everything Australian until they end their illegal apartheid occupation of aboriginal land. Dittor for the USA and Canada. ' PLEASE do that. In fact, you can start by mailing me the $500 or so that represents your personal share of the three billion I am going to have to give you this year. Since you're boycotting me and all. It'll be a slap in my face.

36 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2014 20:36
To Johnny Benson #11: 'Go boycott...go beat your heads against the wall...see what it gets you.....nothing' You did read that interesting article I posted a while back about how the boycott is wrecking Israeli agriculture in the Jordan Valley? If you like, you can also check the price of SodaStream stock.

37 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2014 20:39
Yep. SodaStream stock a year ago was selling for around $70-75 a share. It's currently at $37.50.

38 ) Sander / The Netherlands
31/01/2014 22:19
Thought Scarlet was wise ...but alas. Never thought you'd swap for SS (SodaStream) ambassador. what a pitty !

39 ) Johnny benson / USA
01/02/2014 00:36
@34...Ben barka....you are chiming in from Tasmania...Tasmania..no less...wow..you better not hold your breath...it's gonna be a long long time before Zionist Israel backs away...meantime you go right ahead and boycott...for all the good it will do...

40 ) Paul / Kenya
01/02/2014 15:32
So now according to all these rabid lefty talkback thugs,its illegal to support Israel. oH YEAH, ONLY YOUR VIEW COUNTS. I will buy more soda stream & keep supporting and encouraging support for the Jewish people and their true homeland.

41 ) Mel / USA
01/02/2014 15:57
#39:JB/USA:"Tasmania"? Gosh what a moron.
#34:Ben Barka:Please excuse JB,he doesn't know the difference 'tween "Tasmania" & T-A-N-Z-A-N-I-A!
Poor Johnnie,a sad example of why our US education is in the crapper! No wonder Zionism is imploding(hallelujah)& USA is crumbling under a landfill of embarrassment. BDS Israel until it in turn BDS's its own Zionist extremism &send it packing with its bottles of SS 'bubbles',LOL!

42 ) Mel / USA
01/02/2014 16:46
p.s. #10:Brain Cohen:see what global media thinks:

43 ) Robby / USA
02/02/2014 19:51
42 ) Mel / USA - do you consider those "unbiased" sources?
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