'We're being demonised': SodaStream chief speaks out over censored Scarlett Johansson advert

In a scene from SodaStream's Super Bowl commercial, actress Scarlett Johansson turns to the camera and wonders: 'If only I could make this message go viral' before slipping into a satin dress.
The answer is simple: you need to get your advert censored ahead of a huge sporting event and your global brand ambassador slammed by a humanitarian group.

SodaStream, an Israeli maker of fizzy drink machines, has managed to pull off the ultimate PR coup by making its television advert go viral before the Super Bowl XLVIII football game airs tonight.

First, Scarlett Johansson, SodaStream's global ambassador and star of the controversial ad, came under fire for supporting the company, which operates in the occupied West Bank, from Oxfam International, which opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, arguing that it is illegal and denies Palestinian rights.

But it seems the actress prefers the bubbles.

On Thursday, Johansson, 29, announced she was ending her relationship with the charity after eight years, citing "fundamental differences of opinion, with the humanitarian group.

But for chief executive Daniel Birnbaum all publicity is good publicity, although he describes the location of the factory in a West Bank industrial zone near Jerusalem as a "pain".

He told The Independent: "We have to deal with the media and activist who too often demonise us just because of the location of the factory."

Birnbaum says there are no financial incentives in keeping production in Mishor Adumim. He insists that his company has no political agenda and it provides equal opportunities for all employees.

"We purchase special health insurance for our 500 Palestinian employees so that we can be sure they have coverage for things like emergency surgery and organ transplants," he added.

Last year, there were 399 settler attacks on Palestinians, up from 369 in 2012, resulting in 146 injuries, and 306 attacks on private Palestinian property, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, signalling settlement violence is on the rise.

With just hours to go until the game, Birnbaum went on to accuse Oxfam of providing funding to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, citing documents from the Women's Coalition for Peace, which describes itself as "a feminist organisation against the occupation of Palestine".

Speaking at a conference today, he said: "We found out that some of the Oxfam branches have been donating funds to the BDS, and this money is used to demonize and attack Israel."

Oxfam denied the allegations saying it does not provide funding for promotion of the BDS movement or activities that call for the boycott of Israel. However, it reiterated that it opposes trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

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