Daily Israel Report

Scarlett Johansson Splits with Oxfam Over BDS

Actress steps down as Oxfam ambassador over the group’s support for Israel boycott movement.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/30/2014, 11:44 AM

Scarlett Johansson (file)
Scarlett Johansson (file)
Reuters

Actress Scarlett Johansson has stepped down as an ambassador for Oxfam due to the group’s support for a boycott of Israel.

A statement released by a spokesman for the actress said, “Scarlett Johansson has 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.”

Johansson “is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam,” the statement added.

During her time representing Oxfam, the actress traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to boost fundraising efforts and to raise awareness of global poverty.

Johansson became a target of pressure for pro-boycott groups after signing on to an advertising campaign for SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in Ma’ale Adumim, a Jerusalem suburb located over the 1949 armistice lines.

The Palestinian Authority claims all land east of the 1949 lines, and accuses Israelis who live in the area of illegally occupying the land. Pro-PA groups have pushed for boycotts of Israelis living east of the line as a gesture of support for PA demands.

Among the groups that criticized Johansson’s involvement with SodaStream was Oxfam. After Johansson stated that she was a “supporter of economic cooperation… between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” Oxfam said it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

Oxfam has faced criticism in Israel for routinely violating the law in parts of Judea and Samaria under Israeli administrative control.

The Tel Aviv-based civil rights group Shurat Hadin recently warned that it may file lawsuits against groups that target out Israel for boycott and sanctions. By targeting Israel alone, the BDS movement violates international agreements banning racial discrimination, the group says.