The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s national committee has called on Oxfam to “immediately sever ties with Hollywood actor Scarlett Johansson over her vocal support for illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory,” according to a statement the committee posted on the Alternative Information Center website Tuesday.
BDS is referring to Johansson’s role as the first global-brand ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli firm that makes home soda makers and has a factory in the West Bank. The popular Jewish-American actress, who most recently starred in the Oscar-nominated Her, was in a TV ad for the company that was supposed to air Super Bowl Sunday, but Fox supposedly decided not to air it because Johansson says the line: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi” (the ad can be viewed on YouTube). SodaStream employs Palestinian and Israeli workers at its factory in Maale Adumim, a town about eight miles from Jerusalem.
“Johansson’s defense of her public relations role with occupation profiteer SodaStream undermines Oxfam’s stated opposition to economic relations with illegal Israeli settlements. Oxfam cannot credibly oppose illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories), describing them as a root cause for poverty among Palestinians, while maintaining as an ambassador somebody who has deemed it appropriate to describe the establishment of an Israeli settlement factory on land from which Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed as a form of ‘economic cooperation,’ ” the BDS statement said.
“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” Johansson said in a statement over the weekend. “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”
Oxfam says it’s reviewing the implications of Johansson’s statement and what it means for her role as global ambassador. You can check out Johansson’s banned Super Bowl ad below.