Palestinian-American groups have pulled out of Saturday's Women's March Los Angeles over the inclusion of actress Scarlett Johansson as a guest speaker, in protest of what they call Johansson's support of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
"The Women's March mission says, 'We believe that women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights. Apparently that does not extend to Palestinian human rights, during the WMLA" said Sana Ibrahim, past president of the Palestinian American Women's Association.
PAWA responded to an online petition issued Wednesday night by Women for Palestine L.A., which similarly criticized Johansson's role in the Los Angeles event.
Other groups endorsing the petition included Jewish Voice for Peace LA, and Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.
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"...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," PAWA's statement read. "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."
Johansson is one of several celebrities scheduled to take the stage Saturday. In 2014, she quit her ambassador role with the humanitarian organization Oxfam following criticism over her decision to star in an advertising campaign for SodaStream, a beverage company that owns a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
"I stand behind that decision," the actress told the Observer that year. "I was aware of that particular factory before I signed. And it still doesn't seem like a problem -- at least not until someone comes up with a solution to the closing of that factory and leaving all those people destitute."
Johansson also said she was a "supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine."
Attempts to reach WMLA organizers or Johansson's representatives for further comment were not immediately successful.