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Jewish Journal

ScarJo severs Oxfam ties over fundamental differences on BDS

by JTA

January 30, 2014 | 11:45 am

Oxfam shop, Rhyl. Photo credit: Eirian Evans/wikicommons

Oxfam shop, Rhyl. Photo credit: Eirian Evans/wikicommons

Actress Scarlett Johansson ended her relationship with Oxfam following a protracted debate over her role as spokeswoman for the Israeli company SodaStream.

Johansson in a statement Wednesday said she and the humanitarian organization have “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.” SodaStream, which manufacturers home soda makers, operates a factory in the West Bank.

Johansson has served as a global ambassador for Oxfam for eight years, traveling to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya on its behalf 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 her spokesman and first reported by The Associated Press.

Oxfam did not immediately comment on Johansson’s resignation.

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 Maale Adumim settlement.

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

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