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Saturday 20 September 2014

Music legend Waters blasts 'cute' Scarlett over Israel

Robert Tait in Jerusalem

Published 04/02/2014 | 02:30

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FILE - JANUARY 29: Actress Scarlett Johansson is stepping down from her position as ambassador for Oxfam after being criticized over her endorsement deal with Israeli company SodaStream. NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Scarlett Johansson visits "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on September 13, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Scarlett Johansson
Roger Waters

Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd musician, has criticised actress Scarlett Johansson's decision to abandon her role as an ambassador for Oxfam to take up a sponsorship deal with an Israeli drinks manufacturer.

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Waters, a vocal critic of Israel's policies, accused Johansson of "not paying attention" after she claimed that Palestinian workers at the SodaStream factory in the occupied West Bank had equal rights with their Israeli counterparts.

Johansson resigned last week as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam, the British-based charity, after campaigners in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement – of which Waters is a member – objected to the sponsorship deal.

Announcing her decision, the actress praised SodaStream – which employs 1,300 workers, including 500 Palestinians, in the Mishon Adumim settlement – "for building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine".

Israeli and Palestinian staff worked "alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights", she said.

A SodaStream advertisement featuring Johansson was screened on Sunday at the SuperBowl – American football's annual showcase event.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, Waters disclosed that he had written privately to Johansson twice in recent days over the issue, but had received no answer.

Addressing himself to Johansson, Waters recalled meeting her at a rock concert and being impressed by her apparent commitment to human rights. "I confess I was somewhat smitten," he wrote. "There's no fool like an old fool."

On her defence of SodaStream, he added: "Scarlett, you are undeniably cute, but if you think SodaStream is building bridges towards peace, you are also undeniably not paying attention."

His intervention comes amid rising concern among Israeli officials over pressure for an international economic boycott. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, provoked an outcry at the weekend after warning that Israel could face a boycott if current peace talks with the Palestinians failed to produce an agreement. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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