In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the Palestinian American Women’s Association announced that it is boycotting this Saturday’s Women’s March in Los Angeles. The announcement came after actress Scarlett Johansson was confirmed to speak at the march.
Johansson was a spokesmodel for SodaStream, an Israeli company that manufactures home fizzy drink machines in an illegal Israeli settlement, built on land from which Palestinian Jahalin Bedouins were forcibly expelled.
Here’s PAWA’s full statement:
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. Its organizers label the march as “Pro Peace, Pro Inclusivity focused on marginalized voices and the power of voting.”
However, PAWA recently became aware of LA March’s decision to include Scarlett Johansson in their lineup of special guest speakers. 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. While her position may not be reflective of all organizers at the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation, PAWA cannot in good conscience partner itself with an organization that fails to genuinely and thoughtfully recognize when their speaker selection contradicts their message.
Currently, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi is being held in custody for standing up to two Israeli combat soldiers who raided her family home in the middle of the night on illegally occupied land. Her story, one among hundreds of Palestinian children being abused and imprisoned by Israeli military, has been heard across the globe with calls to #FreeAhed, making the decision to invite Scarlett Johansson speak at an event highlighting “the struggles of marginalized communities and all attacks on human rights” all the more tone deaf.
We join Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, BDS-LA, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return and other organizations who have signed the petition below in boycott of the January 20 march in Los Angeles.
Moreover, we pledge to work harder to ensure the voices and partners we ally with are committed to justice and human rights that include the rights of the Palestinian people.
We urge people to read and sign the petition below, which also includes accounts of mistreatment toward grassroots organizers working for Palestinian human rights.