An anti-Israel group is withdrawing from a Women’s March in LA, all because actress Scarlett Johansson is participating.
The Palestinian American Women’s Assn. (PAWA) announced on its Facebook page that it was withdrawing from the march in downtown L.A. because of Johannson’s participation.
The group is critical of Johannson’s role as a former spokeswoman for SodaStream International, a company that produces seltzer-making machines in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The company was the target of a boycott movement of products made on land seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and claimed by Palestinians for a future independent state.
The boycott resulted in Johannson’s decision to resign as a humanitarian ambassador for the charity organization Oxfam International. Oxfam opposes all trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying companies that operate there do so illegally.
SodaStream eventually shut down its West Bank plant in the face of international pressure,
“The Women’s March mission says we believe that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights,” Sana Ibrahim, past president of PAWA, said in a statement. “Apparently that does not extend to Palestinian human rights, during the WMLA.”
Here is the post in question:
When the Palestinian American Women’s Association (PAWA) was approached by the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation to participate in this Saturday’s anniversary event, the invitation to include a Palestinian women’s organization was a welcomed step toward building a more aware and intersectional movement. Its organizers label the march as “Pro Peace, Pro Inclusivity focused on marginalized voices and the power of voting.”
However, PAWA recently became aware of LA March’s decision to include Scarlett Johansson in their lineup of special guest speakers. Johansson has expressed her unapologetic support of illegal settlements in the West Bank, a human rights violation recognized by the international community whose calls only led to a reaffirmation of her position, sending a clear message that Palestinian voices and human rights for Palestinians do not matter. While her position may not be reflective of all organizers at the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation, PAWA cannot in good conscience partner itself with an organization that fails to genuinely and thoughtfully recognize when their speaker selection contradicts their message.
We urge people to read and sign the petition below, which also includes accounts of mistreatment toward grassroots organizers working for Palestinian human rights.
Not surprisingly, PAWA are engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct.
Scarlett Johansson recognized that the SodaStream factory was providing employment opportunities for palestinians, and was actually good for peace.
Talking to the Observer ahead of the release of her new sci-fi horror film, Under the Skin, Johansson denied that her SodaStream deal was a mistake. “No, I stand behind that decision,” she said. “I was aware of that particular factory before I signed. And it still doesn’t seem like a problem – at least not until someone comes up with a solution to the closing of that factory and leaving all those people destitute.”
Oxfam wrote to her explaining that, although it understood the independence of the stars who volunteer to help, as an organisation it officially “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 said she did not think the case against the factory was clear. “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.”
Johansson added that she now understands that British opinion on the status of the West Bank is generally more clearcut than she had found elsewhere. “That’s one thing I’ve realised,” she said. “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.”
Whatever you think of the disputed territories (yep, I do not accept they are “occupied” at all), what is clear is that Scarlett Johansson wants peace and saw the employment of palestinian Arabs as key to this.
But hate groups like PAWA could care less – their goal is to demonize and ultimately destroy the Jewish state of Israel – even if it means more unemployed palestinians.