Yesterday, the grandson of an Oxfam founder called on the charity to dissociate itself from “ambassador of oppression” Scarlett Johansson, over the Hollywood actress’ endorsement deal with Israeli-settlement firm SodaStream.
On 24 January, Johansson responded to criticism of the deal by reaffirming her backing of SodaStream and putting a wholly positive spin on Israel’s illegal land theft and colonization in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, the negative publicity for Johansson and Oxfam continues to mount with growing, global media interest.
Oxfam tweets and deletes statement
This morning, for instance, the official Twitter account of Oxfam GB tweeted this statement – and then a short time later deleted it:
For those asking about Scarlett Johansson, rest assured that we are taking this situation extremely seriously. Following Scarlett’s statement over the weekend, we’ve been talking to her and we’re currently considering what this means in terms of her role as an ambassador for Oxfam International. However, as is the nature of such situations, they do take some time to resolve, but please be assured that we’re working on this right now and will be in a position to make a fuller statement very soon.
It’s baffling what could be taking so long for Oxfam to “resolve” – and who is ordering that tweets be deleted?
After all, Johansson has made her position crystal clear: she’s on the side of SodaStream, Israeli occupation and settlements and, of course, the millions of dollars fattening her bank account.
I can only conclude that the debate is no longer between Oxfam and Johansson but within Oxfam itself: between those staffers, on the one hand, determined to throw Palestinian rights and international law under the bus and stick with a discredited celebrity at any cost, and those, on the other, who still think the charity ought to demonstrate minimal adherence to principle.
Today, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation issued a new action alert asking people to contact Oxfam and to sign a petition to be delivered to Johansson, with the message that “shilling for occupation and human rights abuses is unacceptable!”