Israel’s former ambassador to the UN has accused Emma Watson of anti-Semitism over an Instagram post supporting Palestinian protesters.
The actress, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, reposted an image showing a photograph of a pro-Palestinian protest, with the banner “Solidarity is a Verb” placed over it, to her 64.2 million followers.
She captioned the post, which has been “liked” over one million times, with a quote from Sara Ahmed, an academic specialising in feminism, intersectionality and critical race theory, about the meaning of solidarity.
Danny Danon, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, tweeted: “Ten points from Gryffindor [one of the four houses of Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter books] for being an anti-Semite.”
The current ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said: “Fiction may work in Harry Potter, but it does not work in reality. 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 [Palestinian Authority], which supports terror. I would be in favour of that.”
The Palestinian Authority is the internationally recognised representative body for Palestinians, and currently exercises partial control over the West Bank under Israel’s security oversight.
‘This sort of messaging diminishes attention to real cases of anti-Semitism’
Watson’s post also drew support from high-profile figures. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a former Cabinet minister, responded to Mr Danon’s tweet by writing: “Repeat after me Mr… Showing solidarity with Palestinians is not antisemitism. Appalling comments from former Israeli Ambassador to the UN.
“These constant attempts to stifle any and all support for Palestinians must be called out. Solidarity @EmmaWatson #Palestine #EmmaWatson.”
Donald Moynihan, the McCourt Chair at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University in the USA, tweeted: “This sort of messaging diminishes attention to real cases of anti-Semitism.”
Mr Danon did not expand upon the reasoning behind his accusation of antisemitism. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), anti-Semitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews”.
The IHRA says manifestations of anti-Semitism “might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity” but adds that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic”.
Watson has previously shown support for Black Lives Matter and transgender rights. The Instagram post marks the first time that she has gone on record about the Palestinian cause.
The image she reposted, including the “Solidarity is a Verb” comment, was created by the Bad Activist Collective in May last year when Israeli jets bombed Gaza in response to rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.