Stop it ScarJo, you’re making me like you.
Anti-Israel sentiment tends to gallop through Hollywood like the Headless Horseman through Sleepy Hollow. Several celebrities, including Jane Fonda and Viggo Mortensen, signed a letter to the Toronto Film Festival in 2009, claiming it was an “Israeli Propaganda Machine,” because of the event’s sister-city relationship with Tel Aviv. Emma Thompson protested an Israeli theater group’s participation in England’s Shakespeare Festival in 2011. And don’t even get me started on Mel Gibson.
This is why I’ve been somewhat shocked regarding Scarlett Johansson’s (who is Jewish) recent stand regarding Israel.
From The Independent:
“Scarlett Johansson has chosen to end her collaboration with Oxfam International in favour of honouring her contract with SodaStream: an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.
A statement released by the actress’ spokesperson said that she has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with the humanitarian group, which opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, claiming that they are “illegal” and “deny Palestinian rights.”
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” it read.
“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.”
I’m far from a ScarJo fan. I believe she’s a bit overrated and her performance in Her is slightly creepy. However, it isn’t often that an A-List celebrity stands by her personal views in the face of tremendous pressure. Take Katy Perry, for example. Perry, who proudly talked of her Christian faith in the early days of her career, has since swapped her values for those of Hollywood, and is no longer a Christ follower.
This incident also illustrates the curious double standard in Hollywood regarding political affiliation. Scarlett Johansson has been outspoken about several left-leaning causes and even promoted Obamacare in a Planned Parenthood video. There was certainly criticism from those on the right reserved for all celebrities who promoted the Affordable Care Act, but none received the vitriol that Johansson has experienced because of her alignment with SodaStream. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement “which calls for ‘decent-minded’ Westerners to refuse to contaminate their body, souls or minds with any grub or books from Israel,” even launched a campaign pressuring Oxfam to remove their ties to Johansson (before she stepped down).
I certainly don’t agree with Scarlett Johansson’s political beliefs, but her decision to part ways with Oxfam and stand with SodaStream is to be commended. I hope that more stars in Hollywood are able to take similar principled stands in the future.