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Scarlett Johansson stepping down as Oxfam ambassador over SodaStream deal

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

A statement released by Johansson's spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has "a fundamental difference of opinion" with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

"Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years," the statement said. "She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam."

Earlier this month, "The Avengers" and "Her" actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she's set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.

In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a "supporter of economic co-operation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine."

Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was "considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson's role as an Oxfam global ambassador."

Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.

Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .

The Canadian Press


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