Oxfam has distanced itself from Scarlett Johansson over the Hollywood superstar’s decision to represent SodaStream, the Israeli company that operates in the occupied West Bank.
The international aid and development group said on its web site that it was “engaged in a dialogue” with Johansson, who is one of its “global ambassadors” over her relationship with SodaStream.
The actress has been promoted as the new face of the controversial home beverage system maker and will appear in a high-profile ad for the company that will air during next month’s Super Bowl.
The company targets its products at environmentally conscious consumers, stressing that it cuts down on waste by allowing families to make their own carbonated beverages instead of buying soda in cans or bottles.
In a statement added to its web site, Oxfam said “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,” the New York Times reported.
The charity’s statement came after more than a week of pressure from activists seeking to end Israel’s 46-year occupation of the West Bank.
The company trumpets itself as a paragon of corporate social responsibility and notes that the majority of its workers at the West Bank plant are Palestinians.
SodaStream International Ltd. recently signed Johannson as its first “global brand ambassador.”
The statement appeared at the bottom of a webpage describing advocacy for Oxfam by Johansson, who is Jewish.
“Scarlett’s global popularity has helped Oxfam raise awareness around the world about issues that create poverty and world leaders’ responsibility to act,” Oxfam said. “Her fund-raising activities and private donations have provided a phenomenal boost to Oxfam’s work with poor people.
“We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice,” the webpage said. “As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.”