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March 9, 2014 10:14 am

Scarlett Johansson Says SodaStream Has ‘Ability to Make a Huge Difference’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson with a carbonated bubbling machine from Israel's SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream.

Actress and SodaStream spokesperson Scarlett Johansson recently told Britain’s The Telegraph that she believes the Israeli carbonated drinks maker can “make a huge difference” to the environment.

Johansson was criticized by anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists after starring in a Super Bowl commercial earlier this year for SodaStream because of the company’s factory in Judea and Samaria, deemed objectionable by the group. Defending SodaStream, she told The Telegraph that she backed the company because its single, reusable bottle makes it a greener alternative to soft drinks in disposable bottles or cans. Other actresses, such as Susan Sarandon, have also endorsed the Israeli company on the same grounds.

“I’m not an expert on the history of this conflict, and I’ve never professed to be. But it is a company that I believe in, that I think has the ability to make a huge difference, environmentally,” she said in an interview published on Friday. “[SodaStream’s CEO] Daniel Birnbaum has said many times that this factory is one he inherited, and that he doesn’t want to fire people – the majority of those people being Palestinian.”

As a result of the controversy from her ad campaign, Johansson ended her eight-year relationship with global charity Oxfam, in which she served as an ambassador. When announcing her decision, Johansson cited “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

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Speaking about her former partnership with Oxfam, Johansson said, “Some of the best times of my life have been when I’ve traveled with Oxfam to see the amazing work that they’ve done.” She still hopes to travel to Africa later in the year to highlight the plight of refugees. Johansson said she will not let the SodaStream controversy stop her from drawing attention to important issues.

“The bigger issue here is global poverty. I have the ability to raise awareness and raise money – that’s a gift that’s been given to me – and I want to continue to use it,” she explained. “So I’m not going to shy away from doing that kind of work.”

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