Scarlett Johansson-Oxfam partnership fizzles amid SodaStream tiff

Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with Oxfam International after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
(Andrew Medichini / Associated Press)

Scarlett Johansson has resigned from her post as an Oxfam ambassador following her participation in a SodaStream campaign that ensconced the actress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and put her odds with the humanitarian charity.

The “Her” voice actress became the global face of SodaStream, a Tel Aviv-based soda machine company that operates in the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, earlier this month; however, her affiliation with that company and subsequent participation in its racy TV commercial -- set to debut on Sunday during the Super Bowl game -- has drawn criticism from pro-Palestinian groups and the charity itself, World Now reported.

Johansson has been with the charity since 2005 and has been one of its global ambassadors since 2007. During her tenure, she worked to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds for the poverty-stricken.

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On Wednesday, “The Avengers” star cited “a fundamental difference of opinions” with Oxfam regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conflict whose current scope now includes looming campaigns to boycott the settlements that could adversely affect Israel economically, according to the Associated Press.

“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” her statement said (via AP). “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”

Last week, Johansson defended her work with SodaStream saying she remains “a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” World Now said.

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Oxfam accepted the 29-year-old’s resignation Thursday and thanked her for her “many contributions” despite finding her role with SodaStream “incompatible” with her role as an Oxfam global ambassador.

“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,” said the statement from the organization, which is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements and deems them “illegal under international law.”

Omar Barghouti, a leader of Palestinian activists for the the boycott, divestment and sanctions, told the AP Thursday that despite Johansson’s decision to stay with SodaStream, “the biggest loser in this well publicized BDS campaign was SodaStream, which was exposed to the whole world as an occupation profiteer.”

Meanwhile, SodaStream honcho Dan Birnbaum also welcomed the controversy.


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


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