Major figures from the cinema world, including Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Capaldi and Charles Dance have issued a statement in support of Emma Watson and Palestinian solidarity.
Last week, Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, was accused of anti-Semitism after posting an image on Instagram featuring a photo of a pro-Palestinian protest with the banner “solidarity is a verb” written over it. It was accompanied by a quote on the meaning of solidarity from intersectional feminist scholar Sara Ahmed.
The post was strongly criticized by Israeli officials, including Danny Danon, a former science minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, who said, “Ten Gryffindor points for being an anti-Semite.”
Israel’s current ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said: “Fiction may work in Harry Potter, but in reality it doesn’t work. If so, the magic used in the wizarding world could eliminate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women and seeks the destruction of Israel) and the PA (which supports terror).”
In a letter organized 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 fighting for their human rights under international law.”
Citing a Human Rights Watch report 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 recognize the underlying power imbalance between Israel, the occupying power , and the Palestinians, the people under a system of military occupation and apartheid.
“We oppose continued Israeli efforts to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The artists added that they condemned all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. “Resistance to a political system or policy is different from bigotry, hatred and discrimination directed against a group of people based on their identity,” they said.
Other signatories include screenwriter and producer James Schamus and directors Asif Kapadia, Mira Nair and Ken Loach. Loach was recently expelled from the Labor party over the issue.