Scarlett Johansson is Israel's Unexpected Heroine

Sunday, January 26, 2014 |  Ryan Jones

Scarlett Johansson has played a fictional heroine in a number of Hollywood blockbusters. But Scarlett became much more than that to Israelis in recent days when she stood up to pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Johansson has been contracted to feature in a multi-million dollar commercial for popular Israeli brand SodaStream during the upcoming Super Bowl.

She never imagined that taking the gig would cause such a media storm. But, as many could have predicted, Johansson soon found herself the target of ceaseless criticism from those who believe that companies like SodaStream are a symbol of the evil "Israeli occupation."

Fortunately for Israel, Johansson is too well versed in humanitarian welfare to be taken in by the propaganda, and sees SodaStream for what it is - an Israeli company doing its best to create an atmosphere of coexistence by hiring as many Palestinian Arabs as possible to work alongside its Jewish employees.

Johansson was very clear and direct regarding the matter in a statement made to the Huffington Post:

"While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air. I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day."

Critics have tried to portray the SodaStream factory in Ma'ale Adumim as a "slave labor" environment for the Palestinians. But Israel Today visited the facility back in November of last year, and found very much the opposite to be true.

Arab employees noted that they are able to make far more money working for the Israeli company than they could elsewhere.

"The salary I earn here enabled me to complete my studies. Not many would do this for the Arab people," explained a fresh-faced Yousef Basharat. "It is only a problem for other people [who call this place a settlement]. I need this work, and I am very happy here."

The Palestinians working at SodaStream also insisted that they are treated with the same respect as their Jewish colleagues.

"Everyone is treated the same here. The privilege that the Israeli worker gets, the Palestinian also gets," said Rani Abed Rabbo, who was offered a management position by SodaStream after losing his job in the hi-tech sector. "There is no discrimination here. We eat together, we laugh together. We feel welcome here."

In fact, contrary to the picture painted by anti-Israel propagandists, the working environment at SodaStream is so desirable that "many other Palestinians are also seeking jobs here," according to Abed Rabbo.

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