On Wednesday Breitbart.com reported that actress Scarlett Johansson has resigned her role as “ambassador” for Oxfam International after the global charity criticized her for appearing in a Sodastream commercial that was prepared for the Super Bowl. Sodastream has a factory in Ma’ale Adumim, an eastern suburb of Jerusalem (the area referred to as the West Bank). The entire concept of the West Bank as Arab territorial is not historical (see rightwinggranny.com), but that discussion can continue at some point in the future.
It gets more interesting. Breitbart reports:
Though it is widely understood that Ma’ale Adumim and its roughly 40,000 residents would remain part of Israel in any likely peace agreement with the Palestinians, Palestinians have long opposed its construction and continue to demand its removal. Sodastream, like other Israeli companies, has been criticized for several years by the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Oxfam has not officially endorsed the BDS movement, but openly opposes trade with Israeli companies doing business in the West Bank.
But sometimes international organizations do not represent the view of the people they claim to represent. Yesterday the Christian Science Monitor reported:
The Jewish actress’s promotion of the company in a Superbowl ad has propelled an international campaign to boycott the home sodamaker and today forced the actress to step down as a global ambassador for the humanitarian agency Oxfam.
But those most familiar with the factory – Palestinians who work there – largely side with Ms. Johansson.
“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” says a young man shivering in the pre-dawn darkness in Azzariah, a West Bank town cut off from work opportunities in Jerusalem by the concrete Israeli separation wall. Previously, he earned 20 shekels ($6) a day plucking and cleaning chickens; now he makes nearly 10 times that at SodaStream, which also provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a website called 14u is reporting that the Sodastream ad intended to be played during the Super Bowl has been revised and will be played during the Super Bowl. Just for the record, I own a Sodastream and love it!
Before calling for a boycott, it is a good idea to make sure you are not hurting the same people you claim to be supporting.