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March 3, 2014 8:42 am

Activist: Facebook Support for Scarlett Johansson May Signify Popular Pushback Against Anti-Israel Activism

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

"I Support Scarlett Johansson Against Haters" Facebook page. Photo: Facebook.

A rapidly growing Facebook page supporting actress Scarlett Johansson against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, reflects a grassroots rejection of boycotts against the Jewish state, one of the page’s founders told The Algemeiner.

“It was truly an unexpected wave of enthusiasm that completely undercut the ‘BDS is winning social media’ narrative and it is still going on,” said co-creator, Liran Kapoano. “I really believe we have opened up the floodgates to a potential major backlash against BDS. This platform may be the foundation for something bigger.”

Launched in late January, the “I Support Scarlett Johansson Against the Haters” page broke through 30,000 “likes” in just a couple of weeks with no advertising, no budget and “really no plan,” he said.

The fan page is not affiliated or endorsed by SodaStream, Johansson or any official corporation. It is 100 percent user-driven and grew by word-of-mouth only, he added. “We have incredible levels of participation from our people, often getting around 1,000 likes/shares for our posts and getting user-submitted photos and content… all spontaneously.”

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The Facebook page’s “about” section and description reads: “Pretty simple concept… the BDS ‘movement’ has targeted Scarlett Johansson for her SodaStream ad campaign because they hate Israel. This is ridiculous… Not a whole lot much else to say.”

Johansson was criticized by BDS activists after starring in a Super Bowl commercial earlier this year for SodaStream, an Israeli carbonated drinks maker. The SodaStream commercial was featured during Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2 and was released online prior to the broadcast.

As a result of the controversy from her ad campaign Johansson ended her ties with global charity Oxfam after it also criticized her decision to help promote SodaStream. The star explained her decision to part ways with the charity citing “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Subsequently, Oxfam was threatened with criminal and civil lawsuits for funding branches of the internationally designed terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“In reaction to unprecedented hate and pressure on Oxfam to terminate their relationship with Scarlett Johansson,” Kapoano said he and a few of his friends were inspired to launch the Facebook page in support of the actress. It strives to demote all types of bullying and hatred, and one post uploaded on Feb. 17 even quotes Abraham Lincoln’s famed second inaugural address where he called for “malice toward none” and “lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

For his day job, Kapoano works as director of the Center for Israel Engagement (CIE) at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. The CIE department oversees the Israel Program Center and Partnership 2 Gether program, and serves as a bridge between people of Northern New Jersey and Israel. He and the other “I Support Scarlett Johansson” creators began with the goal of reaching 10,000 “likes” by the time the SodaStream commercial aired during the Super Bowl.

They now have bigger plans and are looking to partner with established organizations with mailing lists and access to people that can help spread their message of ending anti-Israel hatred.

“We really feel we can drive this page to 100,000 ‘likes’ with just a bit of a push and the sky is the limit if we get someone major to back us,” Kapoano said.

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