A Letter to Oxfam’s Executives
Dear Mr. Loughrey, Mr. Offenheiser, Mr. Voohoeve and Ms. Byanyima,
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I’ve been very closely following the media posts, blogs and comments online regarding your ex-Ambassador Scarlett Johansson and her relationship with SodaStream.
As a long time activist and contributor to your organization, I am appalled that my December 2013 gift has been put toward support of the delegitimization of Israel. I do not stand alone in my community with this sentiment.
Perhaps in my own naiveté, this is the first time I’ve ever noticed an NGO put a political opinion in clear view. I laud your “transparency,” however I urge you to educate yourselves on the topic of Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions.
The BDS tactic is merely a smear campaign of the delegitimization movement of the State of Israel. It has been my understanding that BDS campaigns are lead by people who are closely connected with a network of NGO’s with political agendas (e.g., Oxfam NOVIB and Oxfam International) and are largely funded by European governments.
This funding basically enables NGOs an easy entree to the media, universities, and parliaments with a sustained intensity of anti-Israel demonization. By singling out Israel you are using a double standard that doesn’t elevate, but actually devalues the standards of international human rights.
The 2001 Durban conference gave birth to this strategy with its false claims of “war crimes,” “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.’ BDS in fact, represents an antithesis of universal human rights values. It does not promote a two state solution, is anti-peace, anti-human rights and offers no platform for constructive dialogue.
Scarlett Johansson was right to praise the Ma’ale Adumim factory and choose to disassociate her ambassadorship from Oxfam International.
Her choice is a perfect example of what should be commended, not boycotted in an area where economic cooperation (the employment of 500 Palestinians for example), social interaction and environmental considerations support a path to peace between democratic Israel and Palestine.
My prediction is that consumers will also make their own choices on this issue and as a result, SodaStream profits will soar instead of your intended effect through the support of smear campaigns like BDS.