A television ad which debuts during the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl game Sunday, features Hollywood film star Scarlett Johansson (shown here in a poster picture).
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The ad, for which the company SodaStream, paid $4 million, features Johansson as a sexy, convincing sales person for SodaStream's home carbonation product.
Johansson should be easily recognized in the TV ad by younger viewers who would know her from her featured role in the movie series, The Avengers. In that series Johansson plays the Black Widow, one of several Marvel Comic characters who fight evil powers as a team.
The picture of Johansson is from a poster for the yet to be released Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which she plays the Black Widow. That movie will be in theaters April 4.
Johansson has been in many other films, most recently as the off-screen voice of Samantha, the computer-generated "her" in the film Her. In that film, the unseen Samantha establishes a love relationship with a lonely man played by Joaquin Phoenix. The film is set in the future when computers, supposedly, have developed human emotions.
A more recent Johansson film, Under the Skin, premiered in 2013 at the Toronto Film Festival. It will be released to theaters later this year. Two more Black Widow films will be released over the next two years.
The Black Widow, that is, Scarlett Johansson, is also engaged in a real life fight, now being fought largelly out of sight of the average Super Bowl viewer.
That fight is being waged in a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign against SodaStream, an Israeli company which operates one of its factories in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. BDS is gathering steam as an effective, non-violent program designed to call world attention to business and companies which illegally operate in Occupied Palestine.
SodaStream is no mom and pop operation eager to be of service to Palestinians who need jobs. It is in a worldwide profit-oriented corporation which is described by Wikipedia as "the maker of a consumer home carbonation product based on the principles of making a carbonated drink."
Wikipedia explains further: "The device, like a soda syphon, carbonates water by adding carbon dioxide from a pressurized cylinder to create soda water (or carbonated water) to drink. The company also sells more than 100 different types of concentrated syrups and flavourings to make carbonated drinks."
SodaStream went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange in November 2010. The company is headquartered just outside Tel Aviv. It currently has 13 production plants. Its principal manufacturing facility is located in the long established, and still under international law, illegal, settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, the sprawling settlement located along the highway from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Why Ma'ale Adumin? The answer is easy, that is, if you think, for a moment like a corporate executive responsible to stockholders. Such an executive would figure out that a new plant in an area close to Israel with a labor force desperate for jobs and willing to work for limited wages is a profit-maker. Not only that, but the labor force, so desperate for work, is also living under Israeli military occupation.
And there is more: The work pool in the villages surrounding the exclusively Jewish population of Ma'ale Adumim is all Palestinian, where there are workers who are in no position to bother SodaStream with silly talk of things like unions, higher wages and better working conditions.
The BDS campaign against SodaStream is only one of many such campaigns conducted by supporters of the BDS movement. SodaStream is operating a plant in an Israeli occupied Palestinian area which, while it may profit the stockholders, still projects an ugly image to outsiders. To clean up that image, SodaStream hired a public relations team to respond to the BDS pressure.
SodaStream looked around for an established, yet still young, movie star to change the subject away from unpleasant topics like occupation and Palestinian exploitation... SodaStream's public relations team settled on Hollywood film star Scarlett Johansson, who it just so happened, was already serving as the public face of the British-based non-profit international aid organization, Oxfam.
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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)