- Climate change not a top concern of Americans, poll shows
- GM faces federal investigation for slow recall that led to 13 deaths
- Iran president reaches out to Oman on friendship tour
- FAA’s pre-Malaysia flight warning: 777s have cracking, corrosion issues
- Facebook HQ locked down; employees searched as police field threat
- Glenn Ford free, after serving 30 years for murder he didn’t commit
- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
Johansson steps down as humanitarian ambassador
JERUSALEM (AP) - Scarlett Johansson has parted ways with the international charity Oxfam because of a dispute over her work for SodaStream, a company operating in a West Bank settlement that features the Hollywood star in an ad that will air during the Super Bowl.
Johansson became the latest casualty of a widening campaign to boycott the settlements, drawing attention to a larger debate about whether Israel will become an international pariah, at a steep economic price, if it fails to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid stoked such fears this week, warning that if negotiations break down “and we enter a reality of a European boycott, even a very partial one, Israel’s economy will retreat backward and every Israeli citizen will feel it straight in the pocket.”
His comments reflected a growing sense in Israel that the coming weeks will be decisive for the country’s future.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is formulating ideas for an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement and is expected to present them next month. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have balked at some of his expected proposals and, if sticking to their positions, could derail what is widely seen as a last chance for ending a long-festering conflict.
Meanwhile, European officials have warned that Israel could face deepening economic isolation if it presses forward with the construction of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-won lands the Palestinians want for their state. The fate of dozens of settlements, home to 550,000 Israelis, is a key sticking point in the talks.
Johansson, 29, stepped into that controversy this month when she agreed to become a global brand ambassador for SodaStream, a Tel Aviv-based company that makes home soda machines and has its main plant in an Israeli industrial park next to the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
Her decision riled Oxfam International, a humanitarian aid organization for which she had served as global ambassador for eight years, helping raise donations for victims of natural disasters in Indonesia and the Philippines, among other causes.
On Wednesday, Johansson said in a statement that she was stepping down from that role, citing a “fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam. The actress, whose movies over the past two years include “The Avengers” and “Her,” said she supports economic cooperation between “a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Oxfam accepted her resignation Thursday. The organization said it believes SodaStream and other businesses operating in West Bank settlements contribute to the “denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”
The charity said it opposes all trade with Israeli settlements, deemed illegal by most of the international community.
Johansson was one of 17 celebrity ambassadors for Oxfam. Others who are continuing in that role include the band Coldplay, pop singer Annie Lennox and U.S. actress Kristin Davis of “Sex and the City” fame, the organization said.
Davis was involved in a similar controversy as Johansson. She stepped away from her Oxfam duties while appearing in ads for Ahava, a cosmetics firm that manufactures in a West Bank settlement, but then returned to the charity.
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Search for missing Malaysian airliner widens as mystery deepens
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Obamacare 3 million shy of target with 19 days left to sign up
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again