30 January 2014
The World Jewish Congress has praised Holywood actress Scarlett Johansson and condemned Oxfam over the end of its eight-year association with the actress for her defense of an Israeli company that employs Palestinian workers at a West Bank factory.
“We applaud Miss Johansson for her forthright defense of economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians and for standing up to the international bullies. She is a role model for others confronted with insidious anti-Israel pressure, and we encourage other Hollywood, media and entertainment personalities to follow her lead,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “By its treatment of Miss Johansson, its longtime ambassador, Oxfam has chosen to align itself with the unprincipled and anti-Semitic BDS movement. This was a cowardly act that Oxfam should realize is a reprehensible and damaging mistake.”
Johansson, who had been an Oxfam ambassador, parted ways with Oxfam after she recently became the brand ambassador of an Israel company, SodaStream. The company employs Palestinian workers at a factory in the West Bank city of Ma'ale Adumim. Organs of the BDS movement had called on Oxfam to immediately sever its ties with Johansson.
In public statements over the past week, Johansson defended SodaStream as committed to "building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights" and said that she is a “supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Earlier, Johansson had issued a statement saying she “has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years because “she and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement."
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