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A-list stars back Watson following criticism of her Palestinian solidarity

28th Jan 2022
A-list stars back Watson following criticism of her Palestinian solidarity

Elham Asaad Buaras

A number of leading figures from the world of film have issued a joint statement in support of Emma Watson and Palestinian solidarity. An Instagram post by British actress Watson showing her solidarity with Palestinians on January 3 drew sharp criticism from Israeli officials who accused her of anti-Semitism.

Watson, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, shared a picture from a pro-Palestinian rally with the phrase, “Solidarity is a verb”.

In a letter, published on January 13 by Artists for Palestine UK,,more than 40 people, including Gael García Bernal, Jim Jarmusch, Maxine Peake, Viggo Mortensen and Steve Coogan, said: “We join Emma Watson in support of the simple statement that ‘solidarity is a verb’, including meaningful solidarity with Palestinians struggling for their human rights under international law.”

Citing a report by Human Rights Watch claiming Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution, the artists, including Watson’s Harry Potter co-stars Miriam Margolyes and Julie Christie, continued: “We recognise the underlying power imbalance between Israel, the occupying power, and the Palestinians, the people under a system of military occupation and apartheid.

We stand against ongoing Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The picture was originally posted in May last year by the Bad Activism Collective after Israel carried out an 11-day deadly offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip. At the time, several celebrities had weighed in on the conflict, with figures such as Bella Hadid and Susan Sarandon posting messages in support of Palestinians.

In the caption, there is a quote from British-Australian activist Sara Ahmed, saying: “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future.

“Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”
The post was hailed by pro-Palestine social media users. Many thanked Watson for her support, while some added the hashtags #FreePalestine and #PalestineWillBeFree to their comments.

On the other hand, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, criticised the post. “Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality,” he wrote on Twitter.

“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 favour of that!” he said. His comments followed those of former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. “10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite,” Danon tweeted.

Several social media users slammed Danon for his comments. Leah Greenberg, the co-executive Director of Indivisible Project, a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 in response to the election of Donald Trump as US President, dismissed Danon’s accusations, saying they were “a perfect demonstration of the utterly cynical and bad-faith weaponisation of antisemitism to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Palestinian journalist Mohammed El-Kurd, who played a crucial role in raising international awareness about the forced eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah, responded saying that Watson’s “simple statement” had left “Zionists everywhere … in a frenzy”.

 

(Photo credit:Georges Biard/WikiCommons)

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