Scarlett Johansson quits Oxfam role after Israeli settlement row

By Rosa Doherty, January 30, 2014

Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson has stepped down as an Oxfam ambassador following a row over her endorsement of Israeli drinks company SodaStream.

In a statement released on Wednesday night she said she had ended the link after eight years.

The charity had objected to Ms Johansson’s involvement with SodaStream over what the charity regards as an illegal factory in the West Bank.

But Ms Johansson said she and the charity had a "fundamental difference of opinion" over the company's base in Mishor Adumim, next to the Ma'ale Adumim settlement.

Earlier this week Ms Johansson had said: “I remain a supporter of economic co-operation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.

“SodaStream is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

The 29-year-old actress added that she “never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance”.

Oxfam had said it would consider the implications of Ms Johansson’s statement on her role as a global ambassador for the charity.

The charity had said last week that it was “opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Anti-Israel activists have also criticised Ms Johansson’s involvement with SodaStream.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign asked supporters to appeal to Oxfam to drop its connection with the star if she failed “to immediately end her contract with SodaStream”.

Ms Johansson is due to appear in a television commercial for SodaStream during the Super Bowl on Sunday, the climax of the American football season which attracts a television audience of hundreds of millions.

A reference to SodaStream rivals Coca Cola and Pepsi was removed from the commercial after the broadcaster Fox threatened not to air it.

Meanwhile PSC has launched a campaign against SodaStream’s sponsorship of the Channel 4 Winter Olympic-themed reality show, The Jump.

The organisation urged it supporters to contact the channel to “point out the inappropriateness of signing a sponsorship deal with a company whose factory is located on stolen land”.

Last updated: 11:42am, January 30 2014