Scarlett Johansson has severed her ties with Oxfam International, because of her sponsorship for SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA). She has been the target of intense criticism from pro-Palestinian activists for sponsoring the company, which has a factory in Maale Admumim in the West Bank.
Oxfam joined in that criticism, saying, "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."
"Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years," said Johansson's spokesperson in a statement. "She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam."
Johansson became a global ambassador for Oxfam in 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty.
SodaStream produces some of its products at a factory in Maale Adumim, which employs 500 West Bank Palestinians together with 800 Israeli Arabs and Jews. SodaStream said in response to the criticism that it was the largest employer of Palestinians in the region and paid wages based on Israeli law - higher than those paid by the Palestinian Authority.
In a statement supporting her sponsorship, Johansson 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 Maale Adumim factory every working day."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 30, 2014
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