Revisiting the BBC’s amplification of an NGO’s PR

The Guardian reports that the head of Oxfam GB has described the NGO’s 2014 campaign against the Israeli company SodaStream as having ‘backfired’.

“In a candid presentation to an audience of charity professionals on 14 December, Goldring said Oxfam had made high-stakes misjudgments […] in the row over the involvement of its then celebrity ambassador, Scarlett Johansson with a company operating in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank.

The Johansson furore had cost Oxfam America “literally thousands” of donors, Goldring revealed. […]

In the Johansson case, after a protracted stand-off, the actor ended her eight-year association with Oxfam over its criticism of her for endorsing fizzy drinks company SodaStream, which at the time had a factory in an Israeli settlement.

Goldring […] told a seminar on campaigning for less popular causes that in mishandling the Johansson affair, Oxfam turned what should have been a point of principle into “something of a PR disaster”.

Oxfam’s error, said Goldring, was letting the controversy drag on so that Johansson could eventually seize the initiative. “The judgment was when to be proactive, when to be forceful, and when to be balanced and reflective,” he said. “We got that wrong.”Today Connolly

As readers may recall, the BBC also played a very “proactive” role at the time, promoting Oxfam’s PR messaging (together with that of fellow BDS campaigners, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign) on a variety of platforms including the BBC News website, BBC Radio 4 and BBC television channels.

BBC News recycles second-hand SodaStream slur, fails to explain BDS

BBC’s ‘Today’ programme ‘should know better’ than to engage in covert promotion of the PSC’s agenda

BBC displays its campaigning colours in SodaStream story coverage 

Oxfam’s Ben Phillips on BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’

BBC One serves up BDS at Breakfast

As was noted here at the time:

“As its coverage of this story shows, the BBC has abandoned its role as a provider of news and information regarding the anti-Israel BDS movement and emphatically tied its colours to the campaigning mast.”



6 comments on “Revisiting the BBC’s amplification of an NGO’s PR

  1. Oxfam certainly made a BIG mistake – at least 300 Palestinian families lost their monthly paycheck income and now live in poverty. It seems that it is so easy to have “high principles” when one is an arm chair liberal with a full stomach and so far away! It is incumbant upon Oxfam to recheck its distastful association with BDS if it wants to regain its good reputation.

  2. Oxfam is riddled with antisemites and other unsavoury characters, as are most of the big NGOs, including Amnesty International. It is about time they were exposed, not just by people in the know and supporters of Israel, but by people of principle everywhere.
    I have visited the Sodastream factory when it was in Ariel. The workers were all paid the same, Arab and Jew, Arab from the West Bank and Arab from Israel, and they all loved their jobs. I also own a Sodastream which I bought in the UK from the Brighton shop that the antisemites closed down. I would not be without it, I absolutely love it, I use it every day. The refill gas bottles can be bought from Argos.

  3. This development merely emphasises the tiny brain size of those who want to close a successful factory in the “West Bank” – in total disregard of the plight in which the satisfied Palestinians workers will be put.

  4. Pingback: 12/22 Links Pt2: Europe’s Compassionate Hatred of Israel; A World of Hypocrites: Praising Fidel Castro, While Criticizing Israel – 24/6 Magazine

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