Anti-Israel organizations and supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign have been driven to embark on a crusade to persuade actress Scarlett Johansson to resign from her role as the spokesmodel for Israeli company SodaStream and to apologize for her choice. This is because one of the company’s factories is located in Mishor Adumim, beyond the Green Line.
Even though the campaigns often express opposition to the occupation and settlement construction, in actuality the campaign leaders reject the Jews’ right to self-determination, regardless of borders. The radical campaign supports “the right of return” and the one-state solution. In other words, the eradication of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. The attack on Johansson stems from the claim that SodaStream contributes to the occupation, but ignores the fact that the factory provides a respectable living and adequate work conditions for around 550 Palestinian employees.
The campaign’s objectives are clear and familiar, but why does an aid organization like Oxfam, which fights “poverty, suffering and injustice,” oppose one of its ambassadors participating in the advertisement?
Oxfam transfers giant sums of money every year to nongovernmental organizations that oppose Israeli policies and even promote the BDS movement themselves. In 2013, Oxfam’s office in Holland (Oxfam Novib) transferred 406,300 shekels ($115,300) to the Coalition of Women for Peace organization, which is among the leaders of the “Who Profits” campaign that attempts to shed light on the “occupation industry” and functions as a database for boycott activists. Oxfam Novib is a permanent donor to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a leading organization in the legal war against Israel seeking the arrests of senior Israeli officials abroad. This group accuses Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes, and deems attacks on Israeli citizens as “resistance.” It is entirely unclear how funding such organizations contributes to eliminating the scourge of global poverty and hunger.
The declared goals of Oxfam are admirable, but its politicization is troubling and revolting. It is a shame that one of the biggest and most influential aid organizations in the world acts hypocritically when it comes to Israel. Johansson was wise enough to understand this when she stopped acting as a face for the exploitation of humanitarian issues for political purposes.