January 21, 2014
Last week it was announced that Scarlett Johansson, a movie star and Oxfam Goodwill Ambassador, was the new Global Brand Ambassador for occupation profiteer SodaStream. Johannson will be featured in a SodaStream ad during the Superbowl—the average cost for running a 30-second spot during the game is $4 million. Johannson’s new job reminded us of the days when starlet Kristin Davis worked as a spokesmodel for Ahava cosmetics while serving as an Oxfam Goodwill Ambassador. Back in 2009, Oxfam, which has an explicit policy against Israeli settlement goods, suspended Davis from publicity work for the duration of her Ahava contract.
In the four-and-a-half years since Ahava’s Davis publicity fiasco, mainstream knowledge about and condemnation of Israel’s occupation and its profiteers have grown. Within days of SodaStream’s Scarlet Johansson announcement, articles linking the company to settlement expansion and land theft appeared on prominent blogs at The New Yorker and The Jewish Daily Forward.
Although SodaStream products are labeled as "Made in Israel," its main production facility is in the industrial zone of Mishor Edomin, an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. As a result, SodaStream enjoys cheap land and water, confiscated from the indigenous Palestinian owners; a captive Palestinian labor force; tax benefits; and lax regulation of environmental and labor protection laws. For more information on SodaStream you can read the report from our partners at Who Profits.
Last week we joined other human rights groups in contacting Oxfam, asking them to pressure Johansson to drop SodaStream, and, if she doesn’t, requesting that Oxfam suspend Johansson. We expect to hear from Oxfam within days, and we are hoping that they do the right thing, as they did with Kristin Davis. But in the meantime, you can take action today by sending a letter to Scarlett Johansson. Occupation isn’t green or guilt free, and she should not let SodaStream use her good name to market illegal settlement goods.
Thanks for supporting human rights and international law. Thanks for helping to take the profit out of occupation.
Nancy K and the CODEPINK team