Canada's Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney chimed in on Oxfam International's decision to drop Scarlett Johansson as its Global Ambassador.
Johansson, who started work as a Oxfam Ambassador in 2005, was dropped because of her involvement with SodaStream, an Israeli soft drink company with a plant in 'disputed' Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
Minister Kenney, who admitted to donating money to Oxfam in the past said he thought the organization existed to assist people suffering from poverty. SodaStream's West Bank plant employs some 900 Palestinians, paying them wages which are four times the Palestinian average and ensuring steady work in a part of the world where the unemployment rate routinely exceeds 20%.
"I'm dropping Oxfam as a charity and I'm picking up SodaStream as a new customer," Kenney said in a Friday night interview on Sun News with Brian Lilley. "Thanks very much to all the nutters at Oxfam for marginalizing the Palestinian people."
Kenney blasted Oxfam and the anti-Israeli boycott movement for ignoring the Iranian government and Iranian companies and exporters. "Not a word about a country that executes leaders of vulnerable religious minorities like the Bahá'í Faith. A country that executes political dissidents, a country that executes gays and lesbians," said Kenney.
"You know, you can create a long list of the worst human rights abusers in the world and the organizations that are obsessively focused on Israel for some reason, don't say a word about that long list. There's something terribly wrong about this."Minister Kenney also said that the recent Canadian delegation to Israel "felt at home because we were in another Western democracy that respects human dignity, human rights, and the rule of law."
Prime Minister Harper's successful visit to Israel and the Middle East was mocked by Toronto Star columnist Rick Salutin in an interview on Sun News. When asked about Salutin's views Kenney said that the Canadian visit "Was an expression of solidarity with the only Jewish homeland. The refuge of the people after the holocaust that is facing a daily existential threat."
"It's unfortunate that members of the Canadian left like Rick Salutin just can't see that," Kenney said.