The Epic Battle In Hollywood Over The Holy Land


Anna Baltzer, USCPR Director of Organizing and Advocacy, is quoted in a piece by Moment Magazine explaining how boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) tactics were utilized in 2014 to pressure Oxfam International to drop Scarlett Johansson as a global ambassador over her endorsement deal with Sodastream.

Prominent BDS activist Anna Baltzer helped lead the campaign to pressure Johansson. When petitioning a celebrity, “we always appeal directly to the target themselves, before we go public,” says Baltzer, director of organizing and advocacy for the non-profit U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a coalition of hundreds of national anti-occupation groups that was founded in 2001. “We give them the opportunity to do the right thing. Sometimes we don’t go public,” says Baltzer, who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. But Johansson was not dissuaded, publicly defending her association with SodaStream. “I stand behind that decision,” she told London’s The Guardian.

When Johansson “refused” to dissociate from SodaStream, Baltzer says, “we switched the target to Oxfam,” the global poverty consortium for which Johansson was an ambassador. Depending on whom you ask, Johansson either left the charity or it dropped her. Either way, BDS sees it as a victory. “When Scarlett was refusing, I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much media attention,” Baltzer says. “Regardless of what she did, we were reaching millions of people with the message that this is controversial. People had to learn about the occupation to decide what they would think about it.”

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