Reaction to Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as Oxfam Global Ambassador


Richard Burden MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Britain–Palestine, responding to the news of Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as a Global Ambassador for Oxfam, said:

“It seems to me that Scarlett Jonansson’s position as a global ambassador for Oxfam had become untenable, particularly when she went on record last week to defend SodaStream’s involvement with the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

“Unfortunately, if today’s quote on the BBC is accurate, her spokesperson has made her position even worse by claiming that ‘She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

“Oxfam did not ask her to boycott Israel. The SodaStream plant at the centre of this row is not in Israel.  It is in the West Bank, which is occupied territory. The settlements which Israel continues to build in the West Bank are illegal  under international law and they are one of the principal obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Her representative’s statement suggests to me that Ms Johansson either does not recognise, or does not understand, the distinction between operating in Israel and operating in Palestinian lands occupied by Israel.

“That is profoundly worrying  but her personal views are a matter for her. What is clear is that Scarlett Johansson’s  promotional decisions could not be allowed to compromise Oxfam’s values of respect for human rights and international law.”

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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