Canadian minister wades into SodaStream row

OTTAWA (AFP) - The employment minister of Canada, a strong supporter of Israel, has waded into the spat over Oxfam breaking with US actress Scarlett Johansson for endorsing an Israeli soft drink firm that operates in the occupied West Bank.

Minister Jason Kenney, who is also minister of multiculturalism in Canada, extended an ironic thank you to Oxfam for bringing the Israeli firm SodaStream to his attention.

Last week, Johansson made headlines when she quit her role as Oxfam ambassador after the NGO said her promotion of SodaStream was "incompatible" with her role at the international aid agency.

SodaStream, which manufactures machines for making carbonated drinks at home, has 25 factories around the world, including one that operates in a settlement east of Jerusalem.

"Bought a nice @SodaStream unit at the @HudsonsBayCo. Thanks to @Oxfam for the tip," the minister said in a tweet.

Oxfam calls for a boycott of any Israeli firm operating in settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

The minister's message also featured a photo of a SodaStream beverage machine with its brand name clearly visible.

It also bore the letters "BDSfail" in reference to the campaign calling for "boycott, divestment, sanctions" of Israeli products and goods.

Canada is a strong backer of Israel, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Israel late last month.

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