Actress Scarlett Johansson should need no introduction. She’s glamorous and much in demand as a personality who can lend star power to commercial projects and charitable causes.
One of the latter has been Oxfam, a not-for-profit organization that “works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.” So says its annual report.
Now, though, Oxfam has forced Johansson to quit as one of its global ambassadors after she refused to adhere to the rabid, anti-Israel malice of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. In stepping down, she sets a powerful moral example.
Associated with Oxfam since 2007, Johansson more recently became a paid spokesperson for SodaStream, the makers of a device that lets you make your own seltzer, cola, ginger ale, whatever. You have likely seen the company’s commercials.
Oxfam went off the dial because SodaStream happens to be an Israeli business — and, worse, because the company has a factory in an industrial park near a West Bank settlement. That makes SodaStream a pariah to Oxfam, which subcribes to the borderline anti-Semitic movement that is seeking to undermine the very existence of the Jewish state by calling for a trade boycott.
Oxfam opposes all trade from Israeli settlements. In its zealotry, the group dismisses the fact that this factory — one of 25 run by SodaStream worldwide — employs more than 1,300 people, including about 500 Palestinians. Those Palestians would bear the brunt if a boycott suceeded.
“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” a young man told the Christian Science Monitor. He had gone from earning $6 a day plucking chickens to making almost 10 times as much at SodaStream.
Blinded by the BDS crusade, Oxfam sacrificed an ally devoted to helping starving children to a litmus test that it applies to no other nation.
Companies do business in China, which imprisons dissidents by the thousands. Companies trade with Bangladesh, where workers in dangerous factories have died by the hundreds. Only Israel, which protects basic human and civil and economic rights, is forbidden territory.
With a strong, clear stand — calmly citing “fundamental difference of opinion” — Johansson becomes the highest-profile celebrity to buck the load of BDS bull. Ever more power to her, and to those who may follow her example.