Is Scarlett Johansson a real hero?

Politics editors debate Scarlett Johansson’s resignation from Oxfam following criticism over her decision to star in an advert for a company operating in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank

photo credit Barack Obama

photo credit Barack Obama

Yvonni Efstathiou

Scarlett, in order to claim that you are ‘saving the world’ and that you ‘love helping people’, you at least need to know what is happening around the world. Her decision to resign from Oxfam due to its anti-Israeli stance is utterly flawed.

Oxfam does not support the boycott, divestment nor the sanctions on Isreal. Oxfam’s objection was with regards to her double role as ambassador of Oxfam and Sodastream model, and to that end to the violation of the charity’s support for human rights.

The argument about the crippled Palestinian economy and how the high wages benefit Palestinians is just laughable. Why are they facing 30-40 per cent unemployment in the West Bank? Why is poverty endemic among Palestinians?

It is because of the illegal settlements which impoverish Palestinian people, severely reducing their ability to access jobs, natural resources, markets, and basic services such as adequate water and sanitation facilities, schools and health clinics. Its because they are not entitled to permits that allow them to build up their own factories.

In fact it is impossible for Palestinians to run anything close to the settlements. Thus any claims of equal opportunities is not true. Its like saying that getting someone’s house and turning it into a hotel, providing him with employment, is ok. Well, its not! According to international law the land does not belong to the soda factory, nor to Israel. So if they really want to help the Palestinians improve their living conditions they should let them use their land.

Finally, the fact that Palestinians and Israelis co-exist in the factory proves nothing and of course does not bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict any closer to its end. These Palestinians, as has already been noted, suffer from poverty and would do anything for a living, even work at the illegal settlements. Of course the conflict will not be solved if Palestinians work with israelis in a factory. It is incredibly naive to expect something so trivial to have a meaningful effect.

Scarlett is not a hero, she just chose the biggest cheque.

Daniel Cooper

Scarlett Johansson is completely right to stand up against the illiberal and immoral anti-Israel stance taken by Oxfam. The Anti-Defamation League, one of the most prominent organisations dedicated to combatting racism and anti-Semitism, has praised Scarlett’s “principled opposition” to the “anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement”.

The Sodastream factory in the West Bank is part of Palestinian economy, helping to stimulate growth in the territory and sowing seeds for the possibility of a prosperous future Palestinian state.

The unemployment rate in West Bank is between 30 and 40 per cent. Boycotting a business which is driving the Palestinian economy forward is only going to increase this figure. 1,300 Palestinians work in this factory – how does anybody gain from these people losing their jobs?

Furthermore, Palestinian workers in the Sodastream factory are paid wages equivalent to those in Israel – four times the average wage rate in the West Bank.

It is highly ironic that Oxfam, supposedly a benevolent charitable organisation, is telling Sodastream they should throw a huge number of people into unemployment and poverty.

There have been widespread calls to boycott goods made in democratic Israel, but where is the movement calling for a boycott of goods made in China – a nation with a human rights record far worse than Israel’s?

Scarlett is a hero for boldly standing up against a movement which not only has sinister undertones, but is also detrimental to the peace process and a prosperous Palestinian society.

One comment

  1. 13 Feb ’14 at 2:53 pm

    Deng Xiaopeng

    Another Capitalist Roadster!

    Scarlett choose breakthrough movie in Tokyo

    Remember rape of Nanking – she now will learn force of honourable revolution

    star and sickle combine under the might of 1.4 billion.
    “deaths serve a purpose, they fertilise the ground”

    Reply Report

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