Scarlet Johansson’s television advertisement for the Israeli-owned company Sodastream, which operates a factory in Ma’ale Adumim – an Israeli settlement built on occupied Palestinian land – has put the actress under the spotlight.
Johansson announced she would quit her role as an ambassador for NGO Oxfam, the organisation announced on Thursday. Earlier this week a spokesman for the 29-year-old Hollywood star said “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.”
Sodastream, whose product turns tapwater into soda, has found itself caught up in a growing international movement to boycott Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians.
The European Union has stated that settlements are “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”
But Sodastream claims its West Bank factory, which is built on one of the most controversial Israeli settlements, employs over 500 Palestinians and gives them equal benefits to Israeli workers.
Daniel Birnbaum, Sodastream CEO, said: “This is unique in that it’s located in the West Bank, in area C of the West Bank and we are able to employ people of different kinds, the Palestinians, side by side with Israeli Arabs and with Israeli Jews.”
“They work together here, we have about 1,200 to 1,300 people working in this facility in harmony and peace and we are very proud of being able to be here and to contribute in our way to the co-existence and hopefully to the peace in this region,” Birnbaum added.
As the Sodastream controversy begins to bubble over Johansson’s ad will be broadcast during this weekend’s Super Bowl, minus her comment “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi” which both cola companies objected to.