Scarlett Johansson dumps Oxfam over Israel deal

Scarlett Johansson says she has a fundamental difference of opinion with Oxfam and will have to end her collaboration with them. Photo / supplied
Scarlett Johansson says she has a fundamental difference of opinion with Oxfam and will have to end her collaboration with them. Photo / supplied

Scarlett Johansson has chosen to end her collaboration with Oxfam International in favour of honouring her contract with SodaStream: an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

A statement released by the actress' spokesperson said that she has "a fundamental difference of opinion" with the humanitarian group, which opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, claiming that they are "illegal" and "deny Palestinian rights".

"Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years," it read.

"She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam."

Oxfam International has since accepted Johansson's resignation.

"Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson's decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions," the charity wrote in a statement.

"While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson's role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.

"Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

"Ms Johansson has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and in 2007 became a Global Ambassador, helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty."

Oxfam, of which the actress has been an ambassador since 2007, first published a written statement on their website that criticised Johansson's decision to sign up as the global face of the brand, who maintain a large factory in the Israeli settlement.

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

But the 29-year-old star refused to back down from the 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."

Scarlett Johansson's SodaStream advert will be unveiled during the Super Bowl on 2 February.

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