Wednesday 22 October 2014

Scarlett Johansson hits back at Oxfam after charity criticises ambassador over Israeli campaign deal with SodaStream

Published 27/01/2014 | 18:22

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 08: Scarlett Johannson visits the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on January 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 08: Scarlett Johannson visits the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on January 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
Causing a stir: Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johannson has responded to Oxfam International’s criticism of her decision to sign a deal with an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

The charity, of which Johannson has been an ambassador since 2007, blasted her new campaign with SodaStream International Ltd, which will see her, as their "first ever global ambassador", star in a televised advert for the soft drinks firm during the Super Bowl on 2 February.

Pro-Palestinian activists have condemned the soft drinks company for maintaining a large factory in the Israeli settlement in the West Bank: a territory captured by Israel in 1967, but claimed by the Palestinians.

Oxfam declared in a written statement published on their website that while the group respects the independence of its ambassadors, it opposes “all trade” from Israeli settlements, claiming that they are "illegal" and "deny Palestinian rights".

"We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues," the statement reads, before finishing: "Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

But the 29-year-old actress refused to back down over her campaign, stating that she “never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance”.

"I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine," she added in a statement released to The Huffington Post on Friday.

"SodaStream is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights."

She added that she was also proud of her work with Oxfam.

SodaStream have countered Oxfam International by confirming that their West Bank factory employs nearly 550 Palestinians and gives them equal benefits to Israeli workers.

They also pointed out the factory is just one of 25 production facilities they run worldwide.

Johansson previously expressed her willingness to partner with the company, labelling the pairing a "no brainer" and the product healthy and environmentally friendly.

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