Is Scarlett Johansson Wrong to Dump Oxfam? Ask SodaStream’s Palestinian Workers

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Raheem Kassam reports:  While the likes of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes are criticizing actress Scarlett Johansson‘s decision to stand by SodaStream and Israel and ditch the politicking Oxfam, there is another group of people whose opinions on this issue should be heard: the Palestinians employed by SodaStream in the West Bank.

Earlier this month, Johansson and Oxfam came to blows over the actress’s appearance for and endorsement of SodaStream, a company which has factories in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

And while there are of course many Palestinians not employed by the company who oppose the West Bank factories, the resounding consensus from employees and their dependents seems to be one of excitement and gratitude towards the Israeli-owned firm. Over 500 Palestinians are able to earn three times as much as the average Palestinian worker—and even more than Israel’s own minimum wage.

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Reality Check: There’s No Such Thing as a Global Citizen

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Jakub Grygiel is an associate professor of international relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Jakub Grygiel writes: The call for global solutions to global problems has become a familiar refrain: If only we could see past our petty national interests, we could come together to solve everything from climate change to poverty to terrorism. Schools like mine are increasingly being called upon to educate “global citizens” who belong to the world rather than to their nation of birth or state of choice — and who seek challenges to address rather than enemies to defeat.

worldcitizenBut the global citizen is like the Himalayan Yeti: a figment of the imaginations of a few, not a living member of the political fauna of the world. And it isn’t something we should try to create.

According to a global-citizenship education guide issued by Oxfam, it is important to teach students that the world is unfair and unequal, and that they can and need to change it. Those terms are, by and large, empty vessels to be filled by the holder of power or the ideological flavor du jour, but most often they refer to a version of the argument that the North is richer than the South and this social injustice (another common term) must be addressed. This formulation does have a modicum of substance, albeit of a tired ideological variety reminiscent of post-colonial grievances. It also carries a set of preferred actions. The global citizen knows to drink only fair trade skim lattes.

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