Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Scarlett Johansson

Nine brands you can start boycotting

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are big news in 2014.

If Scarlett Johansson’s Sodastream fiasco didn’t grab your attention, perhaps the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities did, or Netanyahu’s increasing talk of million-dollar PR campaigns, legal offensives and diplomacy efforts to counter the BDS threat.

Opinion pages are filled with debate.

John Kerry has warned Israel that it could be facing a delegitimization campaign “on steroids” and voices from all sides are speculating that a boycott movement against Israel could be about to break into the mainstream.

But what would that actually mean in supermarkets and shopping baskets?

The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from — occupation policies.

These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon — and they may not be the ones you’d expect.

1. Sodastream

Via: AP

Thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s recent adventure in international politics, most of us now know about Sodastream’s role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank.

The fizzy drinks makers are produced in Ma’ale Adumim, one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that cuts through Palestinian land, seizing resources and making the development of an independent Palestinian economy look impossible.

“The Israeli army forcefully expelled 200 Palestinian families from their homes to make space for the construction of Maale Adumim,” says Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the BDS National Committee. “Recently, it announced a plan to expel another 2,300 Palestinians to make way for the settlement’s growth.”

2. Jaffa Oranges

Via: AP

Brands like Carmel Agrexco and Mehadrin, which export the famous Jaffa brand of oranges, make big profits from farming on Palestine’s land.

Many of the companies’ fruits and vegetables — which include avocados, sweet potatoes and pomegranates — are grown and packaged in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, where 94% of land is under direct Israeli control.

As well as violating international law, commercial farming in the area deprives Palestinians of agriculturally-rich farmland and seriously limits access to water, which local people are often forced to buy by the tank at vastly inflated prices.

3. Ahava

Via: AP

Ahava means love in Hebrew, but the story behind is unromantic.

The company’s major factory — and its plush visitors’ centre — is based in Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in the occupied West Bank that also owns 37% of the brand.

The location gives Ahava privileged access to the minerals and mud of the Dead Sea, which form the big-selling ingredient in their face masks, body scrubs and moisturisers.

The company makes about $150 million a year from the sale of these miraculous products while Palestinians continue to be effectively barred from utilising the resources of the Dead Sea.

4. Golan Heights Wine

Via: AP

According to its website, this winery is located in Israel’s prime location for world-class vineyards.

However, that place is the Golan Heights: occupied territory seized from Syria in the War of 1967. Then, most of the 140,000 Syrians that lived in the Golan were displaced and have not been allowed to return, and today the area is home to some 20,000 settlers.

Although the Golan Heights Winery is one of Israel’s biggest exporters, it’s far from the only producer of settlement wine.

The Carmel, Tshibi and Barkan wineries all own vineyards in the Golan Heights, while Teperberg 1870 and Binyamina operate in the West Bank.

5. Victoria’s Secret

Via: AP

Victoria’s Secret is targeted by BDS campaigners because of where the brand sources its fabrics.

America’s largest brand of lingerie gets its textiles from Delta Galil Industries, a company with a warehouse in the Barkan Industrial Zone, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

It also runs stores in Ma’aleh Adumim and Pisgat Ze’ev — both in occupied territories.

Settlements like these destroy the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and are widely considered to be the biggest obstacle to the success of the peace process.

Victoria’s Secret, however, is not the only company to buy its materials from the settlement industry: Delta Galil also supplies to companies like Walmart, Calvin Klein, Nike and Columbia, among others.

6. Sabra Hummus

Via: AP

Food appropriation is a big deal in the Middle East, where the adoption of falafel and hummus as Israel’s national snacks is a point of contention for Palestinians.

Sabra, however, is a BDS target for other reasons: The USA’s top hummus manufacturer is owned by Strauss Group, an Israeli company with strong ties to the IDF.

The corporation has “adopted” the Golani Brigade, an “elite unit” of the Israeli Army with a reputation for bad behavior that ranges “from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians,” according to Haaretz.

Golani troops were on the front line in Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-9 assault on Gaza which killed some 1,400 Palestinians.

Strauss, apparently, provided the lunches, exclaiming on its website that it provides “food products” for missions and “personal care packages for each soldier.”

After U.S. BDS groups targeted Sabra in 2010, Strauss removed the wording from its Corporate Social Responsibility pages. But it has said nothing of withdrawing its support for IDF troops.

7. Medjool Dates

These super-sweet dates are a Palestinian staple, traditionally eaten to break the Ramadan fast.

But today, over half the global harvest of medjool dates is produced by Israel, often on settlements in Palestinian land and especially in the Jordan Valley.

There, illegal labor practices have been recorded on a significant scale.

In 2008, 7,000 Palestinian children were found to be working on settlement date farms. What’s more, the provenance of settlement dates is often concealed with a “produced in Israel” label — Hadiklaim, one of the biggest settlement producers, markets its products under the brand names Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Tops and King Solomon.

8. Eden Springs Water

Much of Eden Springs’ bottled water — which is widely marketed to universities, local authorities and other institutions — comes from the Salukia spring in the Golan Heights.

Israel’s occupation of the Golan has been condemned by the U.N., and, as Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reminds us, international law only gives occupiers a limited right to use the water resources of occupied territory.

Despite that, settlers in the Golan can use as much as 17 times more water per capita than the area’s other inhabitants — a state of affairs that is not helped by the commercial exploitation of springs.

9. Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Packard’s slogan is a predictably Silicon Valley coinage: “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.”

For Palestinians, however, some of the things HP does matter more than others. The firm owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.

HP equipment is used by Israeli prisons and the army, and the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City project in Ariel.

Bethan Parry

Bethan is a writer and editor currently based in Palestine and Israel. She’s written for a range of publications in the US, UK and Middle East, was previously a staff writer for The Day, where she wrote analysis on everything from fiscal policy …

“Internal revolt”?  Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam, SodaStream, Israel West Bank settlements…

The Israeli Daniel (Dony) Birnbaum is CEO of the SodaStream bottling plant company located in the occupied West Bank. He claims that the plant employs about 1,600 and 500 are Palestinians enjoying equal pay as Israelis.

The neighboring Palestinian communities lack running potable water and electricity. A Palestinian said: “If we need to go to the hospital we need a permit. we need permits to go pray at the mosques, to visit relatives…”

Mind you that the water the company is using belong to the Palestinians, but Israel is abusing the Palestinian rights to their resources and denying them the proper ratio quantity and ruining their agriculture.

Actress Scarlett Johansson, having the ambassador role with Oxfam for the last 8 years, has been promoting SodaStream ads.

Although Oxfam, an international charity organization, has not endorsed boycott, divestment and sanctions,  it opposes trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

There is an “internal revolt” within Oxfam for refusing to cut ties with Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, an Oxfam insider has told The Electronic Intifada.

The dispute within the global charity is largely along transatlantic lines, with Oxfam America stamping on anything seen to be critical of Israel.

Johansson is one of Oxfam’s “Global Ambassadors” but recently signed a deal with SodaStream, an Israeli firm with a factory in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Ali Abunimah posted on Electronic Intifada this Jan. 27, 2014

“Internal revolt” at Oxfam over Scarlett Johansson affair, insider says

Scarlett Johansson in a screenshot from an Oxfam fundraising video.

The insider, who is familiar with the organization’s internal deliberations, asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to media.

The insider decided to speak out from a belief that Oxfam was suffering serious damage to its credibility by standing with Johansson.

“We do a lot of good work, but it is being overshadowed by all the negative publicity,” the insider said.

“Thorniest issue”

The Johansson affair “has really brought out one of the thorniest issues within Oxfam,” the insider said.

Although Oxfam has done a lot of lobbying both publicly and privately on the issue of Israeli settlements, it has faced intense resistance from Oxfam America.

Oxfam operates as an international federation with national affiliates including Oxfam America, Oxfam GB, Oxfam Belgium and, in The Netherlands, Oxfam Novib.

Fundraising fears

Unlike other national affiliates, “Oxfam America doesn’t invest one cent in the Palestinian territories, or even Israel. They don’t have any programs in the West Bank or Gaza,” the insider explained.

“Yet they [Oxfam America] always claim that anything Oxfam says on Palestine or Israel affects their fundraising. They almost have veto power on what Oxfam does on Palestine,” the insider added.

While these tensions have been present for some time, the Johansson episode has brought the “anger” to the surface within the organization, the insider said.

The insider noted that the situation became much worse after Matt Herrick, spokesperson for Oxfam America, told The New York Times’ blog The Lede last week that Oxfam had not even asked Johansson to end her deal with SodaStream.

“There are a lot of good people at Oxfam who are really pissed off at what Johansson did and even more pissed off at Matt Herrick’s comment,” the insider said.

One unmistakable sign of the disarray at Oxfam came this morning when Oxfam GB tweeted, and then a short time later deleted, a statement on the controversy.

Hurting Palestinian partners

Now the insider fears that Oxfam’s position could harm its programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which provide vital support to Palestinian communities.

“Oxfam has a lot of Palestinian partners and is one of the more respected international organizations working in Palestine,” the insider said.

These fears could be right.

It was revealed today that the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) has written to Oxfam calling on it to sever its ties to Johansson. PNGO includes virtually all of Oxfam’s Palestinian partners.

Palestine’s Boycott National Committee issued a public statement making the same demand today.

It remains to be seen whether the internal struggle will be resolved in favor of a principled stance and solidarity with Palestinians under occupation, or whether those more concerned with protecting Israel and Oxfam America’s bottom line will ultimately prevail.

Note 1: AP released this statement:

A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after 8 years.  She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”

Note 2: Suppose SodaStream negotiate that:

1. Two third of the employees be Palestinians

2. The neighboring Palestinian communities receive running potable water as much as the company is using.

3. The neighboring Palestinian communities get connected to the public utility as the company is and paying as the company is paying

4. The company makes the additional effort to coax the Israeli government to prevent Israeli settlers from cutting down the olive trees and ruining the Palestinian fields…

Why Daniel Birnbaum refuses to join the campaign against settlers cutting down olive trees and protecting the Palestinian agriculture from the onslaught of the Israeli ruffians?

Would you think that the case of boycotting  SodaStream will be harder to defend?

Note 3: If you try to get information on SodaStream, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover that it is located in the West Bank.  This company knows that it is antagonizing the world community.


adonis49

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May 2020
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