Scarlett Johansson Confirms Oxfam Departure was Because of Israel Boycott

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Post Soda Stream, a Scarlett Johansson interview with The Guardian, where Israel is the No. 1 topic in world affairs, possibly right after the death penalty in the US, was always going to be awkward. Instead of discussing the movie, the Guardian wanted to discuss Soda Stream resulting in the publicist aborting the interview.

Before that happened, Johansson, whose resignation from Oxfam was much commented on, said something interesting.

When I say a mistake,” I say, “I mean partly because people saw you making a choice between Oxfam – a charity that is out to alleviate global poverty – and accepting a lot of money to advertise a product for a commercial company. For a lot of people, that’s like making a choice between charity – good – and lots of money – greed.”

“Sure I think that’s the way you can look at it. But I also think for a non-governmental organisation to be supporting something that’s supporting a political cause… there’s something that feels not right about that to me. There’s plenty of evidence that Oxfam does support and has funded a BDS [boycott, divest, sanctions] movement in the past. It’s something that can’t really be denied.”

The conventional media narrative has been that Oxfam forced Scarlett Johansson to choose between working with it and doing the Soda Stream promotions. Johansson hasn’t really told her side of the story.

Her official statement had already suggested as much, albeit indirectly. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

This time she’s saying it much more directly. And the evidence certainly is there. Parsing Johansson’s wording, she didn’t think that Oxfam should have been supporting political causes targeting Israel. It’s an outdated concept when the modern international NGO is a wholly political entity supporting its own networks of political grantees.

A lot of people still approach groups like Oxfam with that naive attitude and Johansson’s departure may have done more damage to Oxfam than to her. There’s only so much that people expect from an actress. They expect more from an aid group.

  • nopeacenow

    It has everything to do with anti-Semitism. Oxfam want you to believe they are a charitable organization and are above politics. Just not when it comes to Israel and Jews. Good for Johansson. She showed a lot of courage standing up to Oxfam.

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

      She is quite an impressive young lady. I’m glad she isn’t backing down and I’m sure she feels the pressure. I’ll even see a Woody Allen movie now …

      • nopeacenow

        Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a very good movie.

  • wileyvet

    There was an interview on the BBC a month or so ago when this story broke, with a spokesman from Oxfam. It was quite clear from his comments that Oxfam was taking sides in a political cause. He in essence wanted the SodaStream factory closed down, even though it provided hundreds of jobs to Arabs and a better standard of living than they would otherwise have. He considered the factory is located illegally, even though it isn’t, and when pressed by the interviewer, yes he wanted the factory closed. A total douche.

    • Bill Powell

      Socialists and Muslims seem never to concern themselves with prosperity or standards of living. It’s all about the ’cause,’ to which everything else must take a back seat. Even your actions are not that important, so long as you support, or appear to support, the ’cause.’

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    As long as Oxfam uses Double Standards in its treatment of Israel and the 20+ Islamist dictatorships,

    Oxfam should be BOYCOTTED, DIVESTED and SACTIONED until it comes to its senses and abandons its islamofascist-philic agenda.