Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Scarlett Johansson criticized for being a Zionist after supporting jailed human rights workers in Egypt

(JTA) — Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson’s recent intervention on behalf of civil rights in Egypt is prompting a mixed response there, ranging from gratitude to anti-Semitism.

Johansson, who is Jewish, was one of several celebrities to weigh in earlier this month against the arrest of four employees of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a Cairo human rights organization. They were swept up amid a wave of arrests of critics of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

“They all face bogus charges that could lead to many more years in prison. In fact, their only crime has been to stand up for the dignity of Egyptians,” Johansson said in the video published on the group’s YouTube page Dec. 1. Amnesty International launched a separate campaign for their release.

Three of the four workers have since been released. While some Egyptians have thanked Johansson for getting involved, others have suggested that she criticized Egypt’s leadership because she is Jewish.

Nashat al-Dihi, a presenter and commentator on TeN TV, said she “supports the Zionist products and it is well known that she is Jewish and that she’s on the Israelis’ side,” Mako News reported. Johansson drew criticism in 2014 after she appeared in an ad for SodaStream when the Israeli company had a factor in the West Bank.

El-Sissi took power in a 2014 coup that ended the short term in power of Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. They were elected following a revolution.

The pro-Western dictator has jailed thousands of people deemed by his regime as Muslim extremists, as well as other critics.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.