Jewish Journal

This week in power: Peace progress and ScarJo ad fallout

by Danny Groner

February 5, 2014 | 7:30 pm

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Is peace possible?
Things got testy again after recent comments from Secretary of State John Kerry about the possibility of an Israel boycott if a peace deal doesn't coem together. "All this is not to mention that the United States gives (underline gives) Israel billions of dollars a year in its taxpayers’ money, as well as trade privileges worth further billions. It doesn’t do that for any other country at that level. If Kerry is anti-Semitic now, what would he have to do, make it trillions?" asked Juan Cole on his site.

"This is not rocket science. The core elements of any two-state deal are well known. But neither side has been ready to embrace the suboptimal middle ground where peace is made. What is needed now are 'pull factors' that begin to allay the core fears of both sides," wrote Roger Cohen in The New York Times.

SodaStream's miss
The Israeli company with a factory in the West Bank saw its stock price and reputation sink early this week amid criticism over Scarlett Johansson's appearance in their Super Bowl ad. What sounded like a good idea, faced with a week of chatter over the controversy, wound up being anything but for them. It wasn't just that, warned Abraham Greenhouse at Eletronic Intifada: "It would be difficult to quantify the impact of the boycott campaign on SodaStream’s dismal performance in the fourth quarter of 2013, but activists around the world intensified their promotion of the campaign during the busy holiday sales season." It was actually the second consecutive year the company saw its Super Bowl ad backfire. But how do you actually measure successor failure? "YouTube versions of Johansson’s Super Sunday commercial had millions of hits by midday last Friday, and the number was growing by the hour," noted Charles A. Radin at The Jewish Daily Forward.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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