Oxfam Accepts Scarlett Johansson's Resignation as Global Ambassador

Called Role 'Incompatible' With Actress's Work for SodaStream

Getty Images

By JTA

Published January 30, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Oxfam accepted actress Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as a global ambassador, calling the role “incompatible” with her work for the Israeli company SodaStream.

“Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions,” the global anti-poverty charity said in a statement issued Thursday. “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.”

Johansson announced Wednesday that she was ending her relationship with Oxfam following criticism from the charity of her work as a spokeswoman for the producer of home soda-making machines, which operates a factory in the West Bank. Johansson in her statement said she and the humanitarian organization have “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Oxfam has said it opposes any trade with Israeli settlements.

As a global ambassador for Oxfam, Johansson has traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the problem of global poverty.

“She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam,” said the statement released by Johansson’s spokesman and first reported by The Associated Press.

SodaStream signed Johansson to be its first global brand ambassador, and she is set to appear in a television ad for the company during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The company employs Israeli and Palestinian workers at its West Bank factory in the settlement of Maale Adumim.

Pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress. On Tuesday, representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, American Jews for a Just Peace and the First Church in Cambridge Israel/Palestine Task Team met at Oxfam America’s Boston headquarters and urged the humanitarian organization to drop Johansson, who is Jewish, over her defense of SodaStream’s presence in the West Bank.

Johansson had defended SodaStream and her involvement with the company in a statement released Jan. 24 on The Huffington Post.

In an interview with the Forward, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said his company’s West Bank factory was “a pain in the ass.” Birnbaum said he would have never established the plant, which was set up before his tenure at the company, but vowed he would not close the factory in response to pressure. He told the Forward that he “just can’t see how it would help the cause of the Palestinians if we fired them.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.