Israel’s former envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, smeared actor Emma Watson as an anti-Semite after she reposted a photo to her Instagram account of a Palestine solidarity demonstration with the words “Solidarity is a verb.”
Earlier this week, Watson – known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films – posted the image, which was originally made by the Bad Activist Collective, a leftist media activist organization.
The image accompanied a quotation about solidarity by Sara Ahmed, a British-Australian scholar and writer.Watson’s post has so far received more than 1.2 million likes.
As of Wednesday, Watson’s post remains active.
Meanwhile, activists, journalists and human rights defenders have admonished Danon and pointed out the use of false accusations of anti-Jewish bigotry in order to shut down support for Palestinian rights.
Losing the culture war
This attempt by Israeli leaders and their supporters to accuse Watson of anti-Semitism is just a part of a gasping effort by Israel and its advocates to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry.
But it isn’t working.
In October, for example, best-selling author Sally Rooney was subjected to similar smears after she refused to allow an Israeli company to buy the Hebrew translation and publication rights for her latest novel.
Pro-Israel media and lobby groups attempted to portray her decision as a boycott of the Hebrew language – a predictable insinuation that her solidarity with Palestinians is motivated by prejudice.
Rooney has not backed down.
Act.IL, the Israeli government-funded app that sends its users on “missions” to bully, harass and smear cultural figures, students, activists and scholars who express support for Palestinian rights, attacked Rooney.This week, Act.IL launched a similar, desperate campaign against Watson.
The app urged its users to comment on social media “to show Emma Watson that Hamas, as a terrorist organization, is the true enemy, both for Palestinians and for Israelis.”Jewish Voice for Peace rebuked Israel’s app for manufacturing a public support campaign as the apartheid state continues to lose “the culture war.” Watson is not the only Harry Potter-affiliated actor to express support for Palestinians.
Actor Miriam Margolyes, who played Professor Sprout in the films, is one of more than 1,000 British artists who have pledged not to cooperate with Israeli state-funded institutions as part of the cultural boycott campaign.
And the late Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape, was a longtime Palestinian rights activist who directed a play based on the letters of Rachel Corrie, the US activist who was murdered by an Israeli soldier driving a modified Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza in 2003.