(JTA) – The Oxfam aid organization criticized Scarlett Johansson, one of its preeminent advocates, for appearing in an ad for an Israeli business operating in the West Bank.

“Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support,” the organization wrote in a statement published on its website on Thursday about the actress’ association with the Israeli SodaStream firm, which manufactures kits for preparing carbonated water.

“Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law,” it said.

SodaStream International Ltd. recently signed the U.S. actress as its first “global brand ambassador.” She is to appear in a television ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

The statement appeared at the bottom of a webpage describing advocacy for Oxfam by Johansson, who is Jewish.

“Scarlett’s global popularity has helped Oxfam raise awareness around the world about issues that create poverty and world leaders’ responsibility to act,” Oxfam said. “Her fund-raising activities and private donations have provided a phenomenal boost to Oxfam’s work with poor people.

“We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice,” the webpage said. “As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya.”

Regarding SodaStream, the Oxfam statement said that “Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However, We have made our concerns known to Ms. Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues.”

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Source: JTA


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