The Palestinian women’s organization claimed Scarlett Johanson was an unacceptable guest speaker due to her pro-Israeli links, so they refused to participate.
The Palestinian American Women’s Association boycotted a women rights march in Los Angeles on Saturday saying Scarlett Johanson was not an acceptable guest speaker.
According to their statement on Facebook, Johansson “has expressed her unapologetic support of illegal settlements in the West Bank, a human rights violation recognized by the international community whose calls only led to a reaffirmation of her position, sending a clear message that Palestinian voices and human rights for Palestinians do not matter.”
Protesters took to the streets en masse across the United States Saturday, hoisting anti-Donald Trump placards, banging drums and donning pink hats for a second Women’s March opposing the president — one year to the day of his inauguration.
Hundreds of thousands of marchers assembled also in Washington, New York, Chicago, Denver, Boston, and other cities nationwide, many donning the famous pink knit “pussy hats” — a reference to Trump’s videotaped boasts of his license to grope women without repercussions.
The Palestinian American Women’s Association said they initially appreciated the invitation to join the protest, but were then put off by the presence of Scarlett Johanson.
“When the Palestinian American Women’s Association (PAWA) was approached by the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation to participate in this Saturday’s anniversary event, the invitation to include a Palestinian women’s organization was a welcomed step toward building a more aware and intersectional movement,” said their statement.
“However, PAWA recently became aware of LA March’s decision to include Scarlett Johansson in their lineup of special guest speakers,”, continued the statement, “PAWA cannot in good conscience partner itself with an organization that fails to genuinely and thoughtfully recognize when their speaker selection contradicts their message.”
Johansson has previously been criticized for starring in a TV advertisement of SodaStream International, an Israeli drinks company which used to be based in Ma’ale Adumim. Ma’ale Adumim is an Israeli settlement located beyond the Green Line, and is therefore illegal under international law.
In 2014, humanitarian organization OXFAM for which Johansson was an international Ambassador, asked her to stop sponsoring SodaStream International on the grounds that it was based in the Palestinian West Bank.
Asked to choose between the two, however, Johansson chose to continue representing SodaStream International, which led to her leaving OXFAM. SodaStream International has moved its headquarters to the Negev desert shortly afterwards.
The American Women rights marches went on throughout the week-end despite the Palestinian organisation’s boycott, aiming to build on the movement launched last year when more than three million people turned out nationwide to voice opposition to Trump.
The weekend of demonstrations is aimed at translating enthusiasm into political action with the theme “Power to the Polls” — a message designed to drive voter registrations and maximize women’s involvement in the 2018 midterm elections.
The president meanwhile posted a deadpan tweet referencing the rallies protesting his policies, urging people to “get out there and celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months.”
“Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March,” he wrote.
Many of the demonstrations indeed took place under sunny skies but marchers in Park City, Utah — where the annual Sundance Film Festival is underway — braved chilly temperatures and steady snow to make their voices heard, led by celebrities including activist and actress Jane Fonda.
This year’s edition of Sundance took on a political bent in light of the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct, a campaign that has rippled through Hollywood and beyond since scores of actresses leveled sexual assault allegations against disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Crowds in the North Carolina city of Charlotte heard an address from its first black female mayor, while Washington protestors rallied at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and marched to the White House, speaking out on a raft of issues ranging from immigrant protections to racial equality to sexual assault.
“We feel like our work isn’t done and that there’s so much more that we need to fix,” said Tanaquil Eltson, 14, who also participated in Washington’s 2017 march.
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