Scarlett Johansson defends SodaStream deal

Hollywood actress SCARLETT JOHANSSON has defended her decision to become the face of Israel-based drinks-maker SodaStream following criticism from political activists.

The Avengers star came under fire for aligning herself with the company, which is based in the Middle Eastern state, while maintaining her post as an Oxfam Ambassador. The charity is "opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements" and executives issued a statement revealing they would be talking to Johansson about the SodaStream controversy.

The actress has now spoken out about the criticism, insisting she never intended the partnership to be a comment on the Israel-Palestine conflict, but she is glad to raise awareness of the important issues.

In a statement to the Huffington Post, Johansson says, "I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma'ale Adumim factory every working day...

"I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. 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."

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