Scarlett Johansson Defends Israel

Despite being given The Guardian treatment (read: subjected to anti-Israel bias even beyond the “normal” mainstream media levels), actress Scarlett Johansson has staunchly defended her decision to stand by SodaStream.

Bonus: She also stands by Israel and suggests – as people like me believe – that the idea “settlements” are illegal is not a clear-cut issue.

scarlett cartoon1She’s flustered, and since I’ve been given the wind-up signal by the publicist, I move on to an even more difficult subject. SodaStream. When I Google “Scarlett Johansson” the fizzy-drinks maker is the third predictive search suggestion in the list, after “Scarlett Johansson hot” – before even “Scarlett Johansson bum”. A month ago, Johansson found herself caught up in a raging news story when it emerged Oxfam had written to her regarding her decision to become a brand ambassador for SodaStream. The company, it transpired, manufactures its products in a factory in a settlement on the West Bank, and while “Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors,” it wrote, it also “believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support”.

Johansson responded by stepping down from her Oxfam role. From afar, it looked liked she’d received very poor advice; that someone who is paid good money to protect her interests hadn’t done the necessary research before she’d accepted the role and that she’d unwittingly inserted herself into the world’s most intractable geopolitical conflict. By the time Oxfam raised the issue, she was going to get flak if she did step down, flak if she didn’t. Was the whole thing just a bit of a mistake?

But she shakes her head. “No, I stand behind that decision. I was aware of that particular factory before I signed it.” Really? “Yes, and… it still doesn’t seem like a problem. Until someone has a solution to the closing of that factory to leaving all those people destitute, that doesn’t seem like the solution to the problem.”

But the international community says that the settlements are illegal and shouldn’t be there. “I think that’s something that’s very easily debatable. In that case, I was literally plunged into a conversation that’s way grander and larger than this one particular issue. And there’s no right side or wrong side leaning on this issue.”

Except, there’s a lot of unanimity, actually, I say, about the settlements on the West Bank. “I think in the UK there is,” she says. “That’s one thing I’ve realised… I’m coming into this as someone who sees that factory as a model for some sort of movement forward in a seemingly impossible situation.”

Well, not just the UK. There’s also the small matter of the UN security council, the UN general assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice… which all agree that they’re in contravention of international law. Half of me admires Johansson for sticking to her guns – her mother is Jewish and she obviously has strong opinions about Israel and its policies. Half of me thinks she’s hopelessly naive. Or, most likely, poorly advised. Of all the conflicts in all the world to plant yourself in the middle of…

“When I say a mistake,” I say, “I mean partly because people saw you making a choice between Oxfam – a charity that is out to alleviate global poverty – and accepting a lot of money to advertise a product for a commercial company. For a lot of people, that’s like making a choice between charity – good – and lots of money – greed.”

“Sure I think that’s the way you can look at it. But I also think for a non-governmental organisation to be supporting something that’s supporting a political cause… there’s something that feels not right about that to me. There’s plenty of evidence that Oxfam does support and has funded a BDS [boycott, divest, sanctions] movement in the past. It’s something that can’t really be denied.” When I contacted Oxfam, it denied this.

Update: This is indicative of the quality of the Israel haters’ arguments. In general.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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  • Andrew Brehm

    Very obviously many people think that the alleged illegality of the “settlements” is proved by insisting that the claim is popular.

    It never occurs to a journalist to quote the “international law” that would declare the settlements illegal. Everybody who claims that the settlements are illegal refers as proof simply to everybody else who makes the same claim.

    Let’s ask President Obama whether settlements in occupied lands are OK.

    Let’s ask him in Hawaii.

  • Andrew Brehm

    Very obviously many people think that the alleged illegality of the “settlements” is proved by insisting that the claim is popular.

    It never occurs to a journalist to quote the “international law” that would declare the settlements illegal. Everybody who claims that the settlements are illegal refers as proof simply to everybody else who makes the same claim.

    Let’s ask President Obama whether settlements in occupied lands are OK.

    Let’s ask him in Hawaii.

  • Apartheidthynameispalestine

    I have writen to the British Government thru my local MP on this matter. So far ALL the British can say is EXACTLY the same drivel spouted by everyone else. I have once again asked for a copy of this” international law” that says a Jew building a house in Judea and Samaria is illegal

    I know there isnt one, that’s right THERE IS NOT ONE BINDING AUTHORITATIVE INTERNATIONAL LAW THAT DEEMS THE NEIGHBOURHOODS ILLEGAL and as for that Guardian journo he/she can go spin on it. Pathetic post Christians post white-guilt colonial twat that they are

    What a journo eh? Check ur FACTS PALLY!…militant mainly atheistic Marxists all…

  • Apartheidthynameispalestine

    I have writen to the British Government thru my local MP on this matter. So far ALL the British can say is EXACTLY the same drivel spouted by everyone else. I have once again asked for a copy of this” international law” that says a Jew building a house in Judea and Samaria is illegal

    I know there isnt one, that’s right THERE IS NOT ONE BINDING AUTHORITATIVE INTERNATIONAL LAW THAT DEEMS THE NEIGHBOURHOODS ILLEGAL and as for that Guardian journo he/she can go spin on it. Pathetic post Christians post white-guilt colonial twat that they are

    What a journo eh? Check ur FACTS PALLY!…militant mainly atheistic Marxists all…

  • Norman_In_New_York

    When pressed, some critics will cite the Fourth Geneva Convention, even though its applicability here is questionable. I’d like to see an authoritative ruling on this, while noting that nobody is demanding that the Czechs take back the Sudeten Germans.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    When pressed, some critics will cite the Fourth Geneva Convention, even though its applicability here is questionable. I’d like to see an authoritative ruling on this, while noting that nobody is demanding that the Czechs take back the Sudeten Germans.

  • The Hebrew Hammer

    The UNSRC failed in its bid in 2011 to declare settlements illegal.
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/02/18/un.israel.settlements/

    So settlements weren’t illegal via international law either prior to 2011 or afterwards. Case closed. NEXT?

    • Andrew Brehm

      I think it’s interesting that “international law” is simply declared rather than written. Apparently the Security Council meets and makes up the law, just makes it up. And when that doesn’t work, the rest of the UN just pretends that the laws exist anyway.

      From a Jewish perspective, that is puzzling. For us, secular or religious, the very definition of a “law” is that it is written (“in stone” as they say, i.e. exists before it is violated) and equal (i.e. applies to every subject equally).

      The alleged “international law” that prohibits building in occupied or annexed territory can not only not be found but also very openly does not apply to everyone equally (or even to anyone but Israel).

      Poland did and does build in Pommerania and Silesia, even after all “international law” made by the UN was allegedly valid. The Soviet-Union did (and her successor states still do) build in eastern Poland and Prussia. China does build in Tibet. The US build in Hawaii. Heck an American president was born in Hawaii, allegedly part of the US but how?

      North-Vietnam happily treats South-Vietnam as Israel treats Jerusalem. But no European politician ever speaks up.

      Here’s the thing. People disagree about this.

      Some people believe that the “Israeli occupation of Arab land” is the reason for the conflict. Others believe that the problem that causes almost every conflict in the middle east is the insistence that there is “Arab land” outside Arabia.

  • The Hebrew Hammer

    The UNSRC failed in its bid in 2011 to declare settlements illegal.
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/02/18/un.israel.settlements/

    So settlements weren’t illegal via international law either prior to 2011 or afterwards. Case closed. NEXT?

    • Andrew Brehm

      I think it’s interesting that “international law” is simply declared rather than written. Apparently the Security Council meets and makes up the law, just makes it up. And when that doesn’t work, the rest of the UN just pretends that the laws exist anyway.

      From a Jewish perspective, that is puzzling. For us, secular or religious, the very definition of a “law” is that it is written (“in stone” as they say, i.e. exists before it is violated) and equal (i.e. applies to every subject equally).

      The alleged “international law” that prohibits building in occupied or annexed territory can not only not be found but also very openly does not apply to everyone equally (or even to anyone but Israel).

      Poland did and does build in Pommerania and Silesia, even after all “international law” made by the UN was allegedly valid. The Soviet-Union did (and her successor states still do) build in eastern Poland and Prussia. China does build in Tibet. The US build in Hawaii. Heck an American president was born in Hawaii, allegedly part of the US but how?

      North-Vietnam happily treats South-Vietnam as Israel treats Jerusalem. But no European politician ever speaks up.

      Here’s the thing. People disagree about this.

      Some people believe that the “Israeli occupation of Arab land” is the reason for the conflict. Others believe that the problem that causes almost every conflict in the middle east is the insistence that there is “Arab land” outside Arabia.

  • udi yogev

    So the brits hate Israel because it “violated” international law? What nonsense. The shallowness of these journalists is incredible. They should ask themselves for once why a relatively small territorial conflict, one out of many, gets them all riled up while others are completely ignored. Where are all the China haters (Tibet and many minorities inside China)? Where are all the Turkey haters (Kurds, the mountain people, Northern Cyprus)? Russia? Minorities in the Arab world? Much worse conflicts in half of Africa? What do they care. These don’t present them with an opportunity to bash the Jews and lick “oppressed” Muslim feet.

  • udi yogev

    So the brits hate Israel because it “violated” international law? What nonsense. The shallowness of these journalists is incredible. They should ask themselves for once why a relatively small territorial conflict, one out of many, gets them all riled up while others are completely ignored. Where are all the China haters (Tibet and many minorities inside China)? Where are all the Turkey haters (Kurds, the mountain people, Northern Cyprus)? Russia? Minorities in the Arab world? Much worse conflicts in half of Africa? What do they care. These don’t present them with an opportunity to bash the Jews and lick “oppressed” Muslim feet.

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