Tuesday, 28 January 2014

singing the Palestine Blues

UPDATE: Oxfam cans Scarlett who was their ambassador
of good tidings and nice be-hinds (see story at bottom)

This is a story about how a famous woman can get
embroiled in international controversy without
even trying. I would like to think that she is
intelligent since Scarlett Johannson seems to
play suave women in some of her movies, like
the Black Dahlia which is a movie I've yet
to understand, probably because bad noire
movies make me lose my patience.
Now that I've seen the clip below, I guess she
can be suave and not know how to act.
I'm a fan of sorts, I just don't think she pulls
off the acting thing.

"The 29-year-old actress has actually never been recognized for her acting performances at the Academy Awards. She wasn't nominated for transcending our view of sensuality with her tone and inflections in Match Point. Nor was she recognized for her sultry and famous performance opposite of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Though she hasn't been officially nominated for either song that's taken her to the Oscars, she's been the chief performer on both. Seeing as her greatest acting achievement to date was as a voice in Her, we might suggest a slight career redirection." [from policymic]
Firstly, she was horrible in Match Point, except the sex scene in the
field. She had one tone, screech. I was glad her character was
killed. And in Lost, she was not sultry in the least. She was
American Bland, but at least she seemed to act well, and
the opening credits were to her credit. Credit that butt.

Anyway, she's been pimping for Soda Stream,
the stream of soda people. If I were 6, the idea of a
soda stream would be fascinating.
Unfortunately, it's an Israeli company that has its
factory in occupied territory. I don't know all the
details but I'm sure Palestinians are not considered
equals there, even if they get a certain amount of
So, I was thinking, that young lady doesn't know
what she's doing, and she's ruining her reputation.

But what if she did this knowingly? What if she
thought she had enough weight to kick this
Occupation thing into the mainstream for good,
helping push for a settlement. Of course, that
settlement is a pipe dream. The other side are
major league arseholes and  have billions
with which to plug their ears.

Anyway, she could have done this as her part in
upping the temperature over there, without it
seeming to be her fault. That would mean she has
taken a big risk when it was not necessary.
Check this quotation:

"Johansson went on to say that:
'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.'
The ironic part is that the existence of SodaStream's factory
in the Ma'ale Adumim settlement is an enormous barrier to
the realization of that goal." [from policymic]

That's either a cunning response by SJ, or she thinks she can pull
off a stunning reversal in this horrible situation. She thinks
that she's the reason "light is being shed".
Interesting. or a massive ego? she's not Beyonce

So, let's summarise the points so far:
SJ is an average actress, but makes a scene
SJ is a crypto- activist
SJ is a poor judge of political risk
Now, this!

Also, she seems to be a natural at singing. I first noticed
a not bad karaoke singer in Lost in Translation.

However, if this below is her voice, then she's finally
found out how to act, like a singer.

from the movie Her, with Joachin Phoenix, whose voice is way off the Cash.

This is so reminiscent of Nina Simone, it's crazy.
Eat that, Michelle Pfiefer. just joking.

Maybe when she's done with the Soda Rollercoaster,
she'll be singing the Palestine Blues.


Scarlett Johansson Should Win an Oscar, But Not For Acting By Madison Hamilton January 21, 2014

Scarlett Johansson's Quotes About Israel-Palestine Went Viral. Here's Why People Are Angry. Joseph Sarkisian's avatar image By Joseph Sarkisian January 26, 2014

checkit: Guardian
Scarlett Johansson is right – the face of SodaStream doesn't fit with Oxfam
Thanks to the star's involvement with the Israeli company, illegal settlement activity is under increased scrutiny
Vijay Prashad
theguardian.com, Thursday 30 January 2014 17.37 GMT

Global charities seek global ambassadors to help them raise the profile of their work. Simply doing their best to stem the tide of suffering is not enough to gain potential donors' attention. But if a celebrity goes among the poor on behalf of the charity, the media flocks to cover the story – or at least the fact that the celebrity is there. The nuts and bolts of inequality are often overlooked, but the charity gets its name in print or on the television. This is the sorry state our humanism has reached.

It is precisely because of this that Oxfam, founded in Oxford in 1942 as Famine Relief, turned to the actor Scarlett Johansson in 2007 to become its global ambassador. She travelled to Oxfam projects, something that provided photo opportunities for herself (as a caring artist) and for Oxfam (to shine a light on the important work that the charity does).

In January, Johansson was appointed the brand ambassador for SodaStream, an Israeli company that produces machines to carbonate beverages. SodaStream's factory is located in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem.

Israeli settlements (including Maale Adumim) are built on land seized from the Palestinians during the 1967 war. By the standards of the Geneva convention, the Rome Statute and the international court of justice, they have been developed illegally by Israel. Israel has thumbed its nose at international law and continued to build its settlements, including industrial parks such as the one that houses SodaStream.

The European Union has called the E1 parcel of land that Israel plans to build on, extending from Maale Adumim, a violation of international humanitarian law. Johansson, in other words, had become the face of illegal Israeli settlement activity.

Johansson's new job posed a serious problem for Oxfam. The charity has over the years taken a strong position against Israel's illegal settlement construction at the same time as it has worked to deliver much-needed goods and services to the encaged population in the occupied Palestinian territories. In a powerful briefing paper from 2012, Oxfam called on Israel to "immediately halt the construction of all illegal settlements" and end "policies and practices that are illegal under international law and harm the livelihood of Palestinian civilians".

Maale Adumim is built on the rubble of the Palestinian villages of Abu Dis, Al Izriyyeh, Al Issawiyyeh, Al Tur, Khan al Ahmar and Anata – names that exist now only in the memory of their displaced residents. How could Oxfam retain its global ambassador when her new job would undermine its principles?

Pro-Palestinian activists began to put pressure on Oxfam and Johansson to make a simple choice – either she break her contract with SodaStream or Oxfam would have to cut itself off from her complicity with settlement activity.

Within the US, the question of the boycott of Israel has become an important political issue, with the vote by the American Studies Association – and other scholarly bodies – to sanction Israel for its illegal occupation, an occupation that has been backed by US political, diplomatic and financial power. Several US lawmakers wish to make any talk of a boycott of Israel illegal within the US. In this context, it is understandable that Oxfam America had to tread lightly. Any link between the Johansson fiasco and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign would bring Oxfam America into this toxic environment. Eventually, good sense prevailed and Johansson cut her ties to Oxfam.

Small as it may seem in the context of a long battle, the Johansson affair is one more piece of evidence that illegal Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories are being increasingly held up to scrutiny. There is no longer impunity for those willing to associate themselves with it.

Patience has run out and an honest debate on western support for Israel at all costs is now on the table. This debate is better than silence, or than celebrity airbrushing of deep-seated problems. I welcome it.