​Scarlett Johansson Resigns As Oxfam Ambassador

Staff Reporter
Aug. 6, 2014

Scarlett Johansson is no longer a global ambassador with Oxfam as of Jan. 30.

Oxfam International said actress Scarlett Johansson has resigned her role on Jan. 30. The controversy began after Johansson supported an Israeli company operating in a West Bank settlement, which found her role incompatible as a Global Ambassador.

The international humanitarian organization said Thursday that it believes SodaStream and other businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank contribute to the “denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”

The charity said it opposes all trade from the Israeli settlements, “which are illegal under international law.”

Some 550,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967, along with the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek all three territories for a future state.

Pro-Palestinian activists who advocate consumer boycotts of goods produced in Jewish settlements — which are deemed illegal by much of the international community — have encouraged the public to shun SodaStream. The company’s main plant is in an Israeli industrial zone next to the settlement of Maaleh Adumim in the West Bank.

Johansson, who has become a global brand ambassador for SodaStream, recently appeared in an attention-grabbing commercial for the company, which has been gaining attention on YouTube and social media sites.

Johansson’s involvement prompted Oxfam to express concern about her role last week, setting in motion events that led to her resignation.

The company’s chief executive, Dan Birnbaum, told The Associated Press that the campaign to boycott products from Israeli settlements had not had any impact on SodaStream.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have not lost a single customer,” he said. “If anything, it advances our awareness around the world, because people are talking about SodaStream.”

He said the company does not want to “sacrifice” the jobs of 500 Palestinians who work in the SodaStream factory “for some political cause” of some activist groups.

The World Jewish Congress issued a statement Thursday praising Johansson for her “forthright defense of economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The international organization said the actress was a “role model for others confronted with insidious anti-Israeli pressure.”

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