I was going to keep this for my Good News Friday post later on, but I decided that Scarlett Johansson, with the courage of her convictions and her standing by her principles, deserves a post of her own.
I mentioned in last week’s Good News Friday that Ms. Johansson has taken on the job of being the public persona of SodaStream. This was a step too far for Oxfam, whom Scarlett has represented as an Ambassador, and they made noises about letting her go because of her support for the eeevil settlements. Well, the bubbles blew back in nearly everyone’s face, Scarlett resigned before she could be fired, and the only winners of this BDS stupidity appear to be SodaStream and Scarlett Johansson herself!
Here’s how it played out. After accepting the SodaStream advertising job, the actress came in for severe criticism from Oxfam Here is Oxfam’s statement: (emphases are mine).
Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions.
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.
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. Ms. Johansson has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and in 2007 became a Global Ambassador, helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty.
Do you spot the distortion of logic in the first highlighted paragraph? How can a factory that supplies steady jobs, good wages, health and social security benefits “further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities”? What kind of nonsense is this? Of course it is obvious that Oxfam’s objection is not only to the settlements, but to any Israeli presence over the Green Line at all. In other words, they are willing to fight to the last drop of Palestinian blood – or money in this case – to preserve their pious, smug integrity.
Oxfam make a further error (I might be too polite here) by calling the settlements illegal under international law. As Australian FM asked, which precise international law are they referring to? Again, this is nonsense. If anything, the territory is disputed and must be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Their statement is prejudicing the outcome of the peace talks by their statement. But since we’re talking about Israelis and Jews, no one is really bothered.
The upshot of this little spat however was that Scarlett Johansson hoist Oxfam with their own petard and resigned before she could be fired, showing her true integrity and showing up Oxfam as the bigots that they really are.
As part of a growing international BDS movement against Israel’s settlement policy, pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress.
Johansson responded to pressure from Oxfam in a statement released to The Huffington Post on Sunday.
“While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air,” she said.
”I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. 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. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.”
Scarlett Johansson cut ties with Oxfam over her SodaStream endorsement. In the process, the actress slammed the BDS movement. AP writes:
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
Via Honest Reporting, here’s a great tweet by Alex Ryvchin pointing out Oxfam’s hypocrisy:
Elder of Ziyon reports on how the Palestinian workers in the Maaleh Adumim factory applaud their CEO:
The Forward went to the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim and spoke to the CEO, Daniel Birnbaum.
Birnbaum is not at all a right wing fanatic. Far from it. He is as liberal a person as you can find. He does not support Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria. He would not have set up the factory in Mishor Adumim, but it was there when he took over the company. And he shows that he is far more pro-Palestinian than all of the “pro-Palestinian activists” combined.
[T]hough he wouldn’t have opened the factory at its current site, Birnbaum said that its presence here is now a reality, and he won’t bow to political pressure to close it — even though the company is about to open a huge new plant in the Negev, within Israel’s internationally-recognized boundaries, which will replicate all functions of the West Bank plant, and dwarf it.
The reason for staying is loyalty to approximately 500 Palestinians who are among the plant’s 1,300 employees, Birnbaum claimed. While other employees could relocate on the other side of the Green Line if the plant moved, the West Bank Palestinian workers could not, and would suffer financially, he argued.
The Arab workers clearly support Birnbaum – showing that claims to the contrary from Israel haters are a lie.
“We are making history for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people,” he told them in Hebrew, followed by a translator who rendered his comments into Arabic. Birnbaum reassured the workers about their jobs and said he wanted to bring “more and more hands” into the factory as SodaStream grows.
The Palestinians applauded these comments. But then Birnbaum added with a flourish: “Scarlett Johannson would be proud of you!” And at the sound of Johannson’s name — even before the translation — applause among the assembly of mostly male, 30-something Palestinian workers burst out again, palpably louder.
As the Elder so correctly points out:
So who cares more about Palestinian Arabs – SodaStream or the Israel haters?
With each passing day, the answer becomes more and more obvious.
Expect to see some furious logical obfuscation in the hate sites as they try to pretend that they know better than Palestinians what Palestinians want.
Some good news for SodaStream comes from France, where the company won a lawsuit against a pro-Palestinian group calling for its boycott:
Israeli drink manufacturer SodaStream won a legal battle in France against an organization seeking to impose a boycott on its products. The court’s verdict ruled that the “origin of the product,” in this case an Israeli settlement, does not justify the call to boycott.
The group calling for the boycott, the Association France Palestine Solidarité, was told to cease and desist its activities against SodaStream and take down its digital media equating SodaStream with fraud.
To conclude on another sweet note, watch the great SodaStream video starring Scarlett Johansson which was banned from playing at the Superbowl – not for any BDS reason but because it disses Coke and Pepsi. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy it – especially the gentlemen 🙂 . And you won’t be surprised to discover that the video has indeed gone viral (i.e. quickly distributed all over the internet).