Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Scarlett Johansson Steps Down as Oxfam Ambassador

Amid her continuous support for SodaStream, the ‘Her’ actress has resigned after 8 years with the group due to a "fundamental difference of opinion"

By: Daniel Koren

Published: January 30th, 2014 in News » World

And the Scarlett Johansson saga continues.

It all started when ScarJo became the first official global ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates out of the West Bank. The company had already made several news headlines for being attacked by supporters of the BDS movement against Israel.

Soon enough, the floodgates opened, and the renowned actress was under attack for participating in this business, which, according to reports, employs 900 Palestinians and pays them Israeli wages.

In due time, she, naturally, was referred to as a Nazi supporter by writer/academic Reza Aslan.

In response, Johansson defended her stance, and her involvement with the company via a statement issued to Huffington Post. “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… I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them.”

Now, she’s reaffirmed her commitment to the Israeli company and to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, whose called his factory “a model for peace,” by stepping down as an ambassador for humanitarian group Oxfam.

The actress cited a “fundamental difference of opinion” as the reason. According to the the Associate Press, she “respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years.”

“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,” read a statement released by Johansson.

Oxfam thanked Scarlett for her years of service, but added: “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.”

Birnbaum has dismissed any theories that SodaStream does not support its Palestinian workers: “We’re very proud to be here and contribute to the co-existence and hopefully the peace in this region,” he told Reuters.

Birnbaum and ScarJo’s ad, which has since become infamous, might not play during the SuperBowl, which is unfortunate, as it certainly would be the most anticipated commercial of the game otherwise, but you can watch it below:

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