I stand by my SodaStream decision, says defiant Scarlett Johansson

Pro-Israel activists outside EcoStream in Brighton last weeken (Photo: Sussex Friends of Israel)

Pro-Israel activists outside EcoStream in Brighton last weeken (Photo: Sussex Friends of Israel)

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson has mounted a strong defence of her decision to promote Israeli company SodaStream.

The actress resigned as an ambassador for Oxfam after the charity criticised her role advertising fizzy-drink products made in a West Bank factory.

In an interview in the Observer, she said had no regrets about her choice, and pointed out that the factory provided jobs for local Palestinians.

She said: “I stand by that decision. I was aware of that particular factory before I signed. It still doesn’t seem like a problem, at least not until someone comes up with a solution to the closing of that factory and leaving all those people destitute.”

Backing SodaStream: Scarlett Johansson (Photo: AP)

Backing SodaStream: Scarlett Johansson (Photo: AP)

She described SodaStream, which employs 500 Palestinians, as “a model for some sort of movement forward in a seemingly impossible situation”.

Referring to the political situation in the West Bank, she added: “I was literally plunged into a conversation that’s way grander and larger than this one particular issue. And there’s no right side or wrong side leaning on this issue”.

The star, who is Jewish, criticised Oxfam for taking sides in the Middle East conflict .

“For a non-governmental organisation to be supporting something that’s supporting a political cause, something feels not right about that to me,” she said.

“There’s plenty of evidence that Oxfam does support and has funded a BDS movement in the past.”

The anti-poverty charity denied the allegation.

British supporters of SodaStream flocked to its subsidiary EcoStream store in Brighton for a special demonstration to coincide with Purim.

More than 100 people, from London, Birmingham and Glasgow, joined local activists in a counter-protest against pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Sussex Friends of Israel co-founder Simon Cobbs said: “It started as a Purim party, but so many people came down — it was absolutely phenomenal.”

Taking part in the protest was British-born terror victim Kay Wilson, who survived being stabbed 13 times by Palestinian extremists in Israel in 2010.

Last updated: 4:40pm, March 20 2014