Oxfam just made Obama’s Mary Robinson headache that much bigger [UPDATED]


The New York Post (in its famed Page Six gossip column) reports today that Oxfam is sidelining spokeswoman Kristen Davis because the "Sex and the City" actress is also a spokeswoman for the Ahava cosmetics line, which is manufactured in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank:

… Because Ahava is made by Dead Sea Cosmetics in the Mitzhe Shalem Jewish settlement in the West Bank, it’s been controversial — the leftist women’s peace group Code Pink, which accuses America of "war crimes," has called for a boycott, saying Ahava uses Palestinian natural resources in what it calls "Occupied Palestine."

"This has been a huge thing," one source told us. "Ahava has factories on disputed land. From Ahava’s perspective, they are not doing anything wrong. From an Oxfam perspective, Ahava is a polarizing company and Kristin shouldn’t be involved with it."

Our source said Davis "has been very active with both Oxfam and Ahava, and is very passionate about the causes of Oxfam. She was completely unaware of this conflict of interest and is saddened to be on public pause from a group she has devoted so much time, money, and support to."

In a statement, Oxfam said, "Kristin Davis has done great work for Oxfam and we highly value her commitment as a supporter . . . Oxfam remains opposed to settlement trade, in which Ahava is engaged. Both Kristin and Oxfam do not want this issue to detract from the great work we have done in the past and plan to do in the future." …

What does all this have to do with Barack Obama and Mary Robinson? Well, as Eric Fingerhut reported earlier this week, Obama is already drawing heat from some Jewish organizations (AIPAC, ADL, ZOA) and commentators for choosing Robinson, the former U.N. high commissioner for human rights and former president of Ireland, as one of 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor in the United States. Their main complaint is that Robinson presided over the infamous 2001 Durban conference, plus she has a history of strongly critcizing Israel.

Well, now you can throw this into the mix: Robinson is the honorary president of Oxfam International.

UPDATE: An Oxfam spokesman tells JTA’s Eric Fingerhut that it has not made a final decision on how to handle the situation (but won’t be severing ties with Davis) — and adds that Robinson has had nothing to do with the deliberations over what to do. Perhaps that’s true — but it’s also a safe bet that Kristen Davis has nothing to do with where Ahava cosmetics are produced. So if Oxfam decides to hold Davis accountable for Ahava, I don’t see why it would be unkosher to hold Robinson accountable for Oxfam.

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