Actress Scarlett Johansson, who has been the subject of criticism in recent weeks since becoming a brand ambassador for SodaStream, said Friday that she remains "a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine."
SodaStream, an Israeli company which provides a device for making soda and other carbonated drinks, operates 25 factories around the world. Among them is one in Ma'ale Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
In a statement published by The Huffington Post, Johansson said she "never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream."
The company, she added, "is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.
"That is what is happening in their Ma'ale Adumim factory every working day."
Oxfam International, a charity which is also promoted by Johansson, had been among the actress' critics, saying that it "believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."
In her response, Johansson said being an ambassador for Oxfam had enabled her to "witness first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive."
She concluded by saying that she believes in "conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over eight years.
"Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now