Super Bowl Ad Puts Scarlett Johansson On Forefront Of Israeli Product Boycott Controversy [UPDATED]

220px-Scarlett_Johansson_by_Gage_Skidmore220px-SodastreamWe recently had a vigorous debate on this blog over the academic boycott of Israel that appears to be gaining steam despite threats from politicians about retaliation. Now the boycott movement will be placed front and center in the Superbowl with a controversy over a commercial by actress Scarlett Johansson who is being paid to be the new face for SodaStream International Ltd., an Israeli company that operates a factory in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim. Johansson has been denounced for her work on behalf of the Israeli company and now Oxfam International is considering dropping her as an ambassador for its global work against hunger and poverty. Advocates insist that the town is actually fairly secular and supplies jobs for Jews and non-Jews. Both sides will have a chance to be heard given our past experience with controversial Superbowl ads. This is the ultimate prime time exposure for the company but the debate is not likely to be over the savings of carbonating your own drinks. Update: Fox has banned the commercial but not over the international law objections but because the commercial takes digs at Pepsi and Coke (two bigger advertisers). It is not clear if the commercial will be reworked to drop the references and resubmitted. Ironically, the company may have triggered a new boycott debate and not even make it to Superbowl audience.

SodaStream makes machines for creating carbonated beverages at home. In the Superbowl ad, Johansson pitches for the company as a must buy for all families.

Ironically, as groups like PETA have shown, controversy over Superbowl commercials is generally viewed as a good thing. You get 100 times the coverage as people show your commercial over and over. However, this might not be a case of “any publicity is good publicity.” Most people are probably unaware that the company is located in the West Bank. It also adds more publicity to the Boycott Israel movement.

Critics insist that Johansson is committing the same act as shilling for companies that once worked under the apartheid system in the old South Africa. Oxfam appears to consider the objection serious enough to review its continued association with Johansson. It issued a statement that “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. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Ma’ale Adumim is a major point of tension in the area. It contains roughly 40,000 Israelis and was the shown of forced removal of Palestinians. In the winter of 1975, a Gush Emunim group of 23 families and six singles erected a prefabricated concrete structure and two wooden huts on the land and continued to return despite being removed by the government. In 1977, Menachem Begin’s government declared Ma’ale Adumim official status as a permanent settlement.

Johansson insists that she simply accepted a promotional deal and “remain[s] a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.” This is not going to be enough for critics and the controversy could well pull her and the company into an unexpected national spotlight over the boycott movement.

Source: LA Times

56 thoughts on “Super Bowl Ad Puts Scarlett Johansson On Forefront Of Israeli Product Boycott Controversy [UPDATED]”

  1. Ocean Spray recently ran ads in my area touting their partnership with Soda Stream. I’ve bought their cranberry juice ever since I can remember but after that ad I sent them an email and have not purchased their products since that time.

  2. All this about a homebrew pop machine. Ridiculous. Oppression financed by sales of strawberry and root beer? Bah!

    Scarlett should break her ties with them and find another charity who’s cause she can advocate, one that would be more grateful for the funds she provides to those the charity benefits.

  3. This submoronic Turley article merely reflects his anti-Israel, anti-Jew, pro-Muslim-terrorist personal views–though, of course, he would never admit that this is how he really feels. Turley likes to pretend that he is a “logical” person. Turley, of course, fails to mention that SodaStream provides hundreds and hundreds of jobs for Muslims and other non-Jews. Turley lives in fictitious world where he perceives little Israel to be an evil, apratheid nation, and the many large Arab Muslim nations are benevolent, civilized nations. There would be no point in asking him to take “The Israel Test,” by George Gilder, as he’d obviously flunk that. But he would also surely flunk the LA Times “Apartheid in Israel?” test too:

    Go ahead, Turley. Take it. I triple dare you.

  4. @Jinnjoy. The bible says that Israel(the shining city on the hill) will be founded after the final battle of good and evil. You do not know your scripture. You are a bad christian. Abraham was a pedophile anyway!

  5. “The UN report is the result of a mission investigating Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
    Information gathered by the mission shows that private firms have enabled, facilitated and profited, directly and indirectly, from the construction and growth of the settlements. It identified a number of business activities that raise particular concerns about abuses of human rights.”

  6. I think the most important point here, mentioned by Nick Spinelli, has been glossed over: Nick, when did she get fake boobs?!

  7. randyjet:

    “The USA supported the Nazis in Kosovo and illegally tore off a good chunk of Serbia to establish a racist state there.”

    where is that from?

    1. Byron, Once again, you need to read some history of the Balkans, especially the establishment of the SS brigade of Muslims from Kosovo, most of them were all for the Nazis. The KLA was and the government there is explicitly NAZI as was shown by their ethnic cleansing of Serbs before and after NATOs illegal war there. Then if you followed the news at all, the Kosovars were doing their terrorist number in Macedonia and parts of Greece where there were large number of Albanians. They made no secret of their racism.

  8. randyjet:

    the arabs lost a couple of wars to the Israelis. As an agressor, if you lose you pay the price.

    1. Byron, Once again your knowledge of history is lacking. Even the Israelis don’t deny that they started all of the wars except for the last one which Egypt admittedly DID start. Think that the Suez war of 1956 was a just one? Think that the 67 war was not started by Israel? Even the Israelis say it was a pre-emptive strike like the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor. So in all of those cases which you try and use war to justify illegal stealing of others land, you fail since Israel was the aggressor.

  9. “The Mufti sent Hitler 15 drafts of declarations he wanted Germany and Italy to make concerning the Middle East. One called on the two countries to declare the illegality of the Jewish home in Palestine. Furthermore, “they accord to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries, in accordance with the interest of the Arabs and, by the same method, that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.”

    “In 1945, Yugoslavia sought to indict the Mufti as a war criminal for his role in recruiting 20,000 Muslim volunteers for the SS, who participated in the killing of Jews in Croatia and Hungary. He escaped from French detention in 1946, however, and continued his fight against the Jews from Cairo and later Beirut. He died in 1974.”

    1. I hope that Byron will also quote the letter sent to Hitler by the right wing Zionists congratulating him on his accession to power since they shared the same view of keeping Jews from being assimilated and his support for a Zionist homeland. So we can all relive the crimes of both sides in this debate. What this has to do with the Israeli illegal grab of territory is beyond me.

      As for the SS division that was composed of mainly Muslims from Kosovo, their main target was Serbs and incidentally Jews. They managed to kill off over 800,000 Serbs in the Jasenovic concentration camp along with their Ustashi brothers in arms. The USA supported the Nazis in Kosovo and illegally tore off a good chunk of Serbia to establish a racist state there. As one Kosovar said in USA Today when asked about the prospect of German NATO troops coming back, he said it was just fine since the last time the Germans were there, they got rid of most of the Serbs.

  10. This boycott is not the same as the proposal to boycott Israeli universities since it is directed specifically at a group which has spit on international laws and norms. I fully support this boycott while I do not support the one against universities. We do need to hold Israel companies accountable for their theft of property and trampling the rights of Palestinians. If we can seek the return of property that was stolen by the Nazis, we can surely demand the same of Israeli companies that conduct similar theft and oppression. I am sorry, but just because the Nazis committed horrific crimes against Jews does NOT give them carte blanche to do the same against others who had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Now, if that company wishes to go to Germany and take over some land by force, I will have a different opinion on that, and wish them well.

  11. I like the thought that “one-to-one relationships…are the ultimate building blocks of peace.” We should do all we can to promote that concept.

    However, when God says to Abraham, “…my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you…”, He is referring to the descendants of Isaac, not the descendants of Ismael, inheriting “The whole land of Canaan…(and He says), I will give…the whole land of Canaan…as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17.

    All the faux treaties in the world can’t change that. And, if we want to remain blessed by God, we won’t trifle with it.

    We say this as we observe the demise of the once-great United States of America. May God guide, direct, and have mercy on us as we navigate these interesting times.

  12. Despite my hinting to friends and family that we should boycott Soda Stream for the reasons given in the article, someone gave me one for Christmas. And I tried it and it is really good, though it has no cost advantages over buying sodas that I can tell. Now I am torn — I maintain my position on the terrible Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people (Christians as well as Muslims). But I am told that a great many Palestinians are employed by Soda Stream, and thus there is an opportunity for the growth in one-to-one relationships that are the ultimate building blocks of peace. And then there’s Scarlett, one of my all-time faves, pushing soda as she fights off aliens from Asgard and keeps Robert Downey in line.

  13. Getting upset about her appearance in commercial is silly and self-indulgent.
    Same as the boycott in the first place. The only nation in the region which exhibits any tolerance for persons of different religion or ethnicity is Israel. Only Jordan comes close and that only because of the monarchy. The occupation is the consequence of three wars by Israel’s Arab neighbors to exterminate Israel. No Arab state has made any attempt to integrate the refugees created by these wars into the Arab populations of these countries. The camps have been kept open so that the refugees could be used as an excuse for military regimes and sabre rattling to divert both the refugees and the citizens of the Arab states from the oppressive nature of those regimes. A separate Palestinian state with a healthy commercial relationship with Israel will only come about by direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the only precondition being mutual recognition and a resolve to live in peace. The boycott (whatever its good intentions) will not get that done.

  14. Poor kid needed some cash for those new boobs she’s sporting. These soda machines are already a hot item w/ hipsters. The maker is jumping on the recent bad publicity for soda makers. I think it’s a win/win for SodaStream.

  15. I hope the publicity will show just how misguided the boycott movement is. However, as a Christian who knows what the Bible says is going to happen to Israel, I think this is just a precursor of things to come.

    This makes me want to purchase a SodaStream International Ltd. product. I think I’ll look them up.

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