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How Scarlett Helped the Palestinians: the hypocrisy of Oxfam

Oxfam Ambassador Scarlett Johansson at a camp in northern Kenya during a visit to east Africa. The left has been harassing her because she supports a Jewish factory that employs Palestinians. Why do they hate so much?

Oxfam Ambassador Scarlett Johansson at a camp in northern Kenya during a visit to east Africa. The left has been harassing her because she supports a Jewish factory that employs Palestinians. Why do they hate so much?
Photo Credit: Oxfam

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I was the president of my university’s chapter of Oxfam during my senior year of college. That year, together with other members, we organized a large, university-wide Hunger Banquet. The idea is simple, clever, and powerful: invite first-world college students interested in learning more about world hunger to a banquet. Then, randomly separate them into three groups, based on actual statistics about world hunger. Those from “rich countries”— about 15 people—sat at tables and received a three- course meal, with delicious, untouched food left over for about 30 more people. Those from “middle income countries” –around 30 people, received rice and beans, and had to sit on chairs without tables as they ate. Those from “poor countries,” about 50 people, had to sit on the floor and received only a cupful of rice for dinner. As the students ate their respective dinners and contemplated this unfair arrangement, I gave a talk about hunger around the world. The “first-world” students gazed sorrowfully at their hungry friends sitting on the floor, and were frustrated by the fact that they were not allowed to share the extra food with them. The event was eye-opening for my fellow students, and afterward, many donated money to Oxfam to help alleviate world hunger. I regret hosting that event.

I regret my involvement with Oxfam during my time in college.

Because I realized—too late— that Oxfam chooses to be blind and hypocritical. By attacking Soda Stream, a company that actually lifts the Palestinian people out of poverty by providing them with well-paying jobs close to their homes, they are inflicting poverty on the very people they claim to help. Even when Palestinian workers speak out against the boycott, their entreaties fall on deaf, self-righteous ears.

Scarlett Johansson was right to cut ties with Oxfam because the organization is morally bankrupt. If they truly cared about the Palestinians in the West Bank, they would realize that the highest form of charity is to provide a person with gainful employment, not to facilitate handouts to corrupt leaders with Mercedes-Benz addictions. Billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority do not reach the Palestinian people. The CEO of SodaStream, Daniel Birnbaum, has said that he remains committed to the Palestinian workers and will not “throw them to the street,” but also admitted that the West Bank factory has been “a pain.” Thankfully, he cares enough to keep his business in the West Bank, for now. But what happens if the media pressure and boycott cause the company too great a loss? Who could fault them for moving the factory somewhere else? If that happens, Oxfam will be to blame for harming hard-working Palestinians who, after decades of conflict, just want a chance at a stable life and a future for their families.

In fact, raising the economic level of the Palestinian people will lead to more stability and, as a result, exactly what organizations like Oxfam claim to want for the developing world—better education, accountable leadership, and a peaceful state that continues to do business with Israel in a cooperative, productive way.

So don’t worry, Scarlett. Don’t feel guilty. You did the right thing. And I hope that Oxfam learns its lesson.

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14 Responses to “How Scarlett Helped the Palestinians: the hypocrisy of Oxfam”

  1. Herman Rosen says:

    HAIL TO SCARLETT…IT IS JUST MORE ANTISEMITISM..THOSE WHO DISLIKE
    JEWS DO NOT WANT THEM TO DO WELL AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER THEY HELP THE PALESTINIAN ECONOMY OR NOT…A POWERFUL AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ASTUTE ISRAEL JUST RANKLES THEM TO NO END
    AND NOW WE HAVE THE ONE AND ONLY JOHN KERRY ACTUALLY THREATENING ISRAEL WITH SANCTIONS…I REFRET VOTING FOR OBAMA

  2. Nathan Katz says:

    There are many, many of us who were vaguely lefties back when. We were motivated by our values, partially. We got smarter as we got older, did tshuva in thought and deed, and so there is no need for regret. That being said, this is a fine essay.

  3. You shouldn’t regret your in involvement in Oxfam in that you thought you were helping to feed starving people—its original mission. Things get way laid by politics even when it is liberals, artists or hippies behind them. Blame those who took things off course. Stop, and forget future involvement.

  4. well said like many students they are hoodwinked by lefty ****

  5. Carolin Knox says:

    Groups like Oxfam knows that if those they "want to help" get good jobs and no longer need them their donations will dry up.

  6. Gary Gazarkh says:

    Jews who voted for Obama consist of 2 categories:
    1. don't give a damn about Israel.
    2. Useful idiots.

  7. I am glad that Scarlett Johanson did not back down. We have been Soda Stream customers for many years. It is also a pity that Oxfam has squandered so much good will that it took years to build its praiseworthy efforts to feed the hungry. The good news is that there is a great way to contribute to an excellent effort to reduce hunger, Mazon. Mazon has been around for many years and it is a worthy organization.

  8. I am liberal and a strong supporter of Israel and Scarlett.

  9. Too bad you are not motivated by your values anymore.

  10. Tob Breogh says:

    Thank you Scarlett,for your bravery and honesty !

  11. Oxfam spends more money on administration fees then it does on feeding the hungry.

  12. The problem with groups like OxFam, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is that for the current generation of professional "humanitarians" that make up their administrators and board members, Orientalism is a holy book. To that end they've let their founding missions fall by the wayside, now used only as a shield from legitimate criticism, while obsess over finding ways to force the western world to flagellate itself on the world stage.

  13. Mary Hale says:

    You will be happy to know that a CAnadian minister Jason Kenney has dropped Oxfam from getting donations and will instead support Sodastream..

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Oxfam Ambassador Scarlett Johansson at a camp in northern Kenya during a visit to east Africa. The left has been harassing her because she supports a Jewish factory that employs Palestinians. Why do they hate so much?

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