Burst Scarlett's bubble: Oxfam asked to Drop Johansson as Ambassador for Promoting Settlement Product
Oxfam says that it respects the independence of their ambassadors. Yet, how can one truly be an ambassador for justice and human rights, but also advocate for a company that exploits an indigenous population? (Image: Facebook)
The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) Tuesday called on the international humanitarian organization, Oxfam, to drop Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson as ambassador for accepting to be a Brand Ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli company which runs a factory in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the occupied West Bank.
“Oxfam International’s Global Ambassador Scarlett Johansson has recently become the Global Brand Ambassador for SodaStream, an occupation profiteer that maintains a factory in an illegal settlement in the West Bank,” said ADC in a statement.
“SodaStream exploits Palestinian land, labor, and resources, and is complicit in the brutal occupation of the Palestinian land. Such corporate complicity in human rights violations is a crime under international law,” it added.
ADC president, Samer Khalaf, stated in a letter sent to Raymond Offenheiser, Oxfam America president, that 'while you have stated that you oppose all trade from Israeli settlements, there has yet to be any tangible action on this matter. In October 2012, Oxfam Italy cut its ties with Paola Maugeri over her role as a SodaStream PR Ambassador. You also dropped Kristin Davis in 2009 when she became a spokesperson for a company that manufactured cosmetics in illegal Israeli settlements. Scarlett Johansson should not be an exception to the rule.'
In the written statement published on Oxfam’s website, Oxfam said: “We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important matters… Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”
However, despite making a statement saying that they oppose all trade from Israeli settlements, Oxfam has chosen to keep Scarlett Johansson as their Ambassador, in spite of the fact that she is explicitly promoting trade from illegal Israeli settlements, said ADC.
“Oxfam says that it respects the independence of their ambassadors. Yet, how can one truly be an ambassador for justice and human rights, but also advocate for a company that exploits an indigenous population? In the American legal practice this would be considered a clear conflict of interest: a definitively unethical position to maintain. One simply cannot simultaneously advocate for human right and human exploitation,” concluded the ADC statement.
Johansson, who is promoting the company’s machine for making carbonated beverage, said in a statement issued later that “I stand behind the SodaStream product.”