Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Scarlett the Starlet believes that because money is the only thing she values, everybody else must feel the same way: thus proving that some blondes really are dumb

We've all heard a lot recently about Scarlett Johansson's conflict of interest, between her work as an Ambassador for Oxfam and her work for Sodastream, a company which carries out a lot of manufacturing in an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank. And we all know how it was resolved: she dumped Oxfam and kept the more lucrative Sodatream gig. One observer suggested that this was because the "Jewish lobby" in Hollywood would have ensured that she was blacklisted had she sided with Oxfam. That might be true or not, but it's purely speculative: however, the same lobby ensured that Rankin was forced into a humiliating apology.

Anyway, Ms Johansson and many of her supporters have made much play of the thousand or so jobs for Palestinians provided by the Sodastream factory in Ma'ale Adumim, and of the fact that the workers' pay and terms of employment are equivalent to those of Israeli workers. their pay and hours may be the same, but there is no equivalence in the conditions under which they work: they have no vote, they are restricted in their ability to travel, to get to the factory they have to run a gauntlet of checkpoints, they are subjected to regular racist abuse by the settlers (which hardly ever leads to any reprimand from the IDF or police - at least, not for the perpetrators, though sometimes for the victims) and finally for now, if they have any dispute with their employer they have no recourse to Israeli law as they are governed under military law which treats them as second-class human beings and not as citizens.

Let's look at the system of checkpoints which dominates the lives of Palestinians (but not of Israelis) working in the illegal settlements. Here is a short film which brings home the everyday reality.

And before you all start to say that the film is just fiction, and that such things don't happen in the region's only democracy(TM), take a look at this recent story from the West Bank.

So yes, Scarlett, the workers in Ma'ale Adumim have jobs, and well-paid ones, but don't kid yourself that Sodatream's pocket-book largesse makes up for the vile conditions of servitude in which those workers will spend their entire lives unless the world puts a stop to Israel's crimes against humanity.


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