1136 GMT January 20, 2022
On January 4, Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, was accused of antisemitism after she 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, theguardian.com reported.
The post drew strong criticism from Israeli officials, including Danny Danon, a former science minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s regime and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, who said: “10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite.”
Israel’s current ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said: “Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality.”
In a letter organised by Artists for Palestine UK, a cultural network “standing together for Palestinian rights”, more than 40 named 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, 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 Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The artists added that they condemned all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. “Opposition to a political system or policy is distinct from bigotry, hatred and discrimination targeting any group of humans based on their identity,” they said.
Other signatories include the screenwriter and producer James Schamus and the directors Asif Kapadia, Mira Nair and Ken Loach. Loach was recently expelled from the Labour Party over the issue.