Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson on Sunday again defended her decision to represent Israeli soda-maker SodaStream and shot down biased criticism of and efforts to boycott the Jewish state.
In an interview with the UK’s Observer that was supposed to focus on her role in an upcoming film, Johansson was aggressively confronted over her spokesperson position with SodaStream, which operates a large factory near the “Jewish settlement” of Ma’aleh Adumim.
The factory employs hundreds of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews, and, according to Johansson, “is a model for some sort of movement forward in a seemingly impossible situation.”
That wasn’t good enough for the interviewer, who wrote that Johansson must have been given some bad advice or made a wrong decision, but was now unable to extract herself from the situation without upsetting one side or another.
Not so, Johansson retorted, insisting that she “stands behind that decision. I was aware of that particular factory before I signed [on]…and…it still doesn’t seem like a problem.”
Clearly becoming frustrated with the starlet, the interviewer pointed out that the biggest names in the international community all regard Israeli settlements as illegal and a detriment to the dignity and livelihood of Palestinian Arabs.
Determined not to be cowed, Johansson replied, “I think that’s something that’s very easily debatable.” She went on to note that while a firm majority in the UK might back the interviewer’s position, that is certainly not true everywhere.
Johansson also took a shot at the UK-based charity Oxfam, from which she stepped down as a global ambassador when Oxfam too harshly criticized her relationship with SodaStream.
“There’s plenty of evidence that Oxfam does support and has funded a BDS [anti-Israel boycott, divest, sanctions] movement in the past. It’s something that can’t really be denied,” Johansson said. “For a non-governmental organization to be supporting something that’s supporting a political cause… there’s something that feels not right about that to me.”