R&I – FS
Emma Watson has been accused of antisemitism by Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations after she posted a message of support for the Palestinian cause. Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, posted an image on Instagram showing a photograph of a pro-Palestinian protest with the banner “Solidarity is a Verb” written across it. It was accompanied with a quote about the meaning of solidarity from the intersectional feminist scholar Sara Ahmed.
While the post elicited widespread support from Palestinian activists, it drew strong criticism from Israeli officials. The most combative was Danny Danon, who formerly held the posts of science minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. Sharing Watson’s post on Twitter, Dannon said: “10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite.”
Israel’s current ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, was also critical. “Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality,” Erdan wrote. “If it did, the magic used in the wizarding world could eliminate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women and seeks the annihilation of Israel) and the PA (which supports terror). I would be in favor of that!” PA refers to the Palestinian Authority.
Danon’s comments were met with a backlash, including from Leah Greenberg, a co-executive director of Indivisible Project, a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 in response to the election of Donald Trump. “A perfect demonstration of the utterly cynical and bad-faith weaponization of antisemitism to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people,” she wrote. The Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi called Danon’s comments “appalling”. “These constant attempts to stifle any and all support for Palestinians must be called out,” she said.
Watson’s post has been liked by more than a million users and attracted more than 100,000 comments – many of which include either Palestinian or Israeli flags.