Scarlett Johansson is the new face of apartheid. Her very public decision to quit Oxfam and continue her role as Sodastream’s “global brand ambassador” is appallingly racist. Here’s why.
Sodastream operates a factory in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Zone, which is located on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied
West Bank. The company not only profits from
the stolen land but also exploits Palestinian labor.
“Palestinian workers in this factory always feel like we are enslaved … There is a full discrimination against the [Muslim] workers and we are denied our right to practice our religion”, explained one employee last year to the online news site Electronic Intifada.
Johansson’s endorsement of Sodastream helps to legitimize the company’s operations. It also helps to legitimize
’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and
apartheid practices. Israel
There are differences between the regime that existed in
and that of South Africa today. But the similarities speak
for themselves. Israel made a legal distinction between
“white”, “coloured”, “Indian” and “black”. South Africa makes a legal distinction between
“Jew” and “non-Jew”. Israel
A “matrix of control” exists in the occupied territories, which consists of Jewish-only settlements, an obstructive ID system, segregated buses and separate roads for Israeli citizens. All of this amounts to intensive restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.
Israeli apartheid, like the South African variety, mounts an ongoing campaign of violent demographic engineering against the indigenous population. Palestinians are subject to regular curfew and cannot leave or enter their own towns without permits. Under
’s military apartheid regime,
Palestinians’ water resources, land and crops are regularly confiscated and
their homes destroyed. Israel
All this debunks the commonly touted claim that
is the only democracy in the Israel Middle East. Alongside the restrictions on
movement and the ever present eye of the military, will not allow Palestinians in the
occupied territories to vote. Their very existence is deemed a threat, so the
idea of “one person one vote” is maligned as anti-Semitic! Israel
The Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association estimates that since 1967, 40 percent of the male Palestinian population in the occupied territories has been imprisoned. According to both Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, nearly all Palestinian political prisoners have suffered torture.
John Dugard, former special reporter to the UN Human Rights Council, in 2011 compared the Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians to policies of apartheid-era
. “Apartheid’s security police
practiced torture on a large scale”, he wrote in an article for Al Jazeera. “So
do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on South Africa [the prison that housed Nelson
Mandela] but there are more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.” Robben Island
Palestinians, like Black South Africans before them, have resisted this subjugation both inside the racist regime and internationally. That’s what makes Johansson’s decision all the more repulsive.
Palestinians have been pleading for solidarity for years and an international campaign – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – has continually exposed the criminality of companies like Sodastream that benefit from Israeli apartheid.
For Johansson, none of that matters. If this had been
in the 1980s, would she have acted
in a similar way? South Africa
> The article above was written by Kostas Rologas, and is reprinted from Red Flag newspaper.