The BDS movement has become a danger not just to its enemies, but to its friends.
Scarlett Johhansson has been under attack by the anti-Israel Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement because she became a “Global Brand Ambassador” for SodaStream, the Israeli company that has factories around the world, including one in the “West Bank.”
See yesterday’s post, SodaStream wins French court case against boycott group, for more about how SodaStream’s factory has become a model of cooperation, employing over 500 Palestinians on the same terms and conditions as Israelis, and providing a boost for the moribund and corrupt Palestinian economy.
BDS doesn’t care. Palestinians literally are starving to death in Syria, yet BDS is obsessed with SodaStream. Even supporters of the anti-Israel group Anonymous saw the absurdity:
As readers know, BDS is not about supporting Palestinians, it’s about hating Israel’s existence.
Johansson also has been a global ambassador for Oxfam International. Oxfam has an image of a neutral, non-political humanitarian organization that only cares about feeding the poor and improving living conditions.
That’s a false image. Oxfam is a BDS supporter as to the disputed West Bank, you just didn’t know it. BDS started harassing Oxfam demanding it cut its ties to Johansson. When Oxfam announced that it was reviewing her role, Johansson beat them to the punch and resigned last night.
Johansson didn’t just resign, though, she unmasked Oxfam’s support for BDS as incompatible with growing peaceful relations between Israelis and Palestinians, as AP reported:
Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement 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 has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.
In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”
Oxfam “accepted” her resignation (as if it could reject it), and reaffirmed it’s support for BDS (at least with regard to settlements) based on the false accusation that Israeli settlements are “illegal” and that SodaStream’s factory makes condidtions worse for Palestinians:
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.
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.
Now the BDS supporters who demanded that Oxfam fire Johansson are bemoaning that she resigned. What they wanted was for her to quit SodaStream, and it backfired:
The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss is almost apoplectic, Scarlett Johansson not only abandons Oxfam but throws it under the bus:
With this statement, Johansson and her public relations team not only extricate her from a vulnerable position, but does so cynically and opportunistically by throwing Oxfam under the bus.
The statement claims that Johansson left Oxfam over “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement [BDS]”—an unconvincing assertion since Oxfam has never taken a position on BDS.
However, by making this allegation, Johansson frames her departure as a result of Oxfam forcing her to make a different and presumably more difficult decision. That is, instead of being asked not to represent a company that manufactures products from an illegal West Bank settlement, Johansson implies that she was being forced by Oxfam to honor the Palestinian BDS call.
The lesson here is not just about Johansson steadfastness, or even how international aid organizations have become politicized.
This is a BDS story, a story of how a hateful movement is willing to take everyone down with it. BDS has no concern for the 500 Palestinians families who would have lost their primary sources of income, the thousands of Palestians starving to death in Syria, or the damage to Oxfam from BDS pressure tactics.
The BDS movement has become a danger not just to its enemies, but to its friends.DONATE
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