Scarlett Johansson vs. Oxfam / OXFAM WAVERS IN ITS STANCE AGAINST APARTHEID

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/01/25/scarlett-johansson-vs-oxfam-international/

A high-profile controversy bubbled over this week into the mainstream over actress Scarlett Johansson’s endorsement of the carbonate-it-yourself company, SodaStream. While the controversy itself is rather narrow, its meaning and implications are far-reaching, as I’ll explain in a moment. But first, allow me to explain the controversy …

Johansson has become the celebrity face of SodaStream, an Israeli company which has its factory in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. This week, SodaStream made a promotional push in advance of her upcoming Super Bowl ad for the company, which considers Johansson a “brand ambassador,” going so far as to describe the relationship between the two as a “love story” between a socially conscious company and a passionate consumer.

The only problem is that, aside from being SodaStream’s “brand ambassador,” she is also an “Oxfam Ambassador” for the global charity organization, Oxfam International. This week, Palestinians and international boycott advocates challenged either Johansson to leave SodaStream, or Oxfam to end its relationship with Johansson, given the conflict due to Oxfam’s political position on Israeli settlements.

This pressure resulted in Johansson publishing a public statement in The Huffington Post, and Oxfam making a statement of its own.

Johansson decided to stand firmly behind the company, painting it as a model for peace and environmental stewardship:

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.

In turn, Oxfam – which does not recognize the legality of Israeli settlements, and understands quite well that Israel’s military rule in the Occupied Territories is anything but democratic – has published a statement of its own:

Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However Oxfam believes that businesses 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.

We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam. Oxfam is now considering the implications her new statement and what it means for Ms Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.

It is clear that Oxfam is preparing to sever its ties with Johansson, who has worked with the aid organization on important projects since 2005. It is also clear that this never would have happened if not for the visibility, and legitimacy, of Palestinians who are nonviolently opposing Israel’s geo-political policies. For Oxfam didn’t know about Johansson’s endorsement for SodaStream – nor of the company factory in the Occupied Territories – until international activists began protesting its affiliation with Johansson.

And this is precisely why what has occurred between Johansson and Oxfam is so significant, for it has provided a high-profile test case measuring the impact, and veracity, of Palestinian efforts to mobilize international players against Israel’s undemocratic occupation.

Those efforts resulted in articles popping up in mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times, and compelled both Johansson and Oxfam to make their positions known.

Not after months of protest. But after only days of highlighting this online, via Twitter and social media.

The speed with which media picked up on Johansson’s relationship with SodaStream as a legitimate story of controversy is significant enough. Even more so that all players involved felt compelled to make their positions immediately known.

The implication being clear: Palestinian opposition to Israel’s geo-political policies is becoming not just more accepted in the mainstream as legitimate, but it is becoming more effective as a result.

If the ultimate result of all this is a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, whether via a two-state resolution (my deep desire) or some other agreed upon resolution, these small efforts will be looked upon as historically significant.

Even fights over endorsement deals for soda companies.

OXFAM WAVERS IN ITS STANCE AGAINST APARTHEID

http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/oxfam-wavers-in-its-stance-against-apartheid/

OXFAM can’t seem to make up its mind on boycotting the Occupation of Israel …. perhaps if we boycott them it will open their eyes to the injustices they are supporting ….STOP SUPPORTING OXFAM until they support the BDS Movement!

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OxfamOxsham

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First there was this FROM …..

Oxfam tells SodaStream spokesmodel Scarlett Johansson that settlements harm Palestinians

 by Ali Abunimah

Scarlett Johansson (Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)

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The international development charity Oxfamhas publicly admonished Hollywood actressScarlett Johansson over her new and highly controversial role as spokesperson for the Israeli occupation profiteering firmSodaStream.

“We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice,” the charity says in a statement.

“As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty, and she has helped to raise critical funds for life-saving and poverty-fighting work around the world. We deeply value her support.”

But, the statement, adds, “Oxfam believes that businesses 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.”

“We have made our concerns known to Ms Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues.”

Campaigns

In the UK, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is urging people to contact Oxfam to call for Johansson “to immediately end her contract with Sodastream or to cut ties with her following her signing up with Sodastream.”

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has issued a similar action alert aimed at Oxfam America.

It is still unclear whether Oxfam will eventually drop Johansson – following a 2009 precedent with Hollywood actress Kristin Davis – or whether the charity will convince Johansson to drop her lucrative contract with SodaStream.

Clearly it would be preferable if Johansson would learn the lesson and walk away from SodaStream. Either way, it is now apparent that no matter how much money you get, doing business with firms that exploit Palestinian workers and profit from Israeli crimes carries, at least, a mounting reputational cost.

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And now THIS ….. also FROM

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Oxfam backs Scarlett Johansson, despite actress’ endorsement of Israeli settlements

 by Ali Abunimah
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International charity Oxfam is standing by its “Global Ambassador” Scarlett Johansson, at least for now, despite the fact that the Hollywood actress has come out in full support of Israeli settlements and profiteering in the occupied West Bank.

Johansson has faced strong criticism and media scrutiny for a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli firm that operates in an illegal colony in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement yesterday, Johansson defended the deal and praised Israeli settlements.

“We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam,” Oxfam spokesperson Kate Pattison told The Electronic Intifada in an email this morning.

“Oxfam is now considering the implications [of] her new statement and what it means for Ms Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador,” Pattison added.

Laundering settlements

In a statement to The Huffington Post yesterday, Johansson attempted launder the SodaStream deal as something beneficial for “peace”:

“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” the actress said. “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’ale Adumim factory every working day.”

Maale Adumim is an Israeli colony built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Choosing celebrity over principle

Johansson’s clear endorsement of Israeli colonization and regurgitation of SodaStream propaganda is at sharp odds with Oxfam’s own policy.

In a statement on 23 January, Oxfam said it had informed the actress that “Oxfam believes that businesses 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.”

Johansson’s statement indicates that the “dialogue” Oxfam has been hiding behind has failed to impress on the actress that profiting from Israeli crimes is totally incompatible with a role promoting human rights and development.

But at least for now, Oxfam has chosen to back celebrity over principle by continuing to stand behind Johansson.

In doing so, it has taken a clear position against Palestinians and their rights and chosen complicity with Israeli occupation and colonization.

Update

In light of Oxfam’s comments to The Electronic Intifada and Johansson’s statement, US Campaign to End the Israeli OccupationAdalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace todayexpressed outrage at Johansson’s endorsement of settlements and Oxfam’s failure to act on it.

“We demand Oxfam respond immediately and drop her as their Global Ambassador in accordance with their own stated position that settlements are a major barrier to peace and contributor to poverty,” said the US Campaign’s Ramah Kudaimi.

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OXFAM must keep in mind that when you sit on the fence, there is always the danger that you will fall flat on your face!

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