Emma Watson post in support of Palestinians angers Israeli envoys

Post on Harry Potter film star’s Instagram account criticised by Israeli officials but ‘liked’ by social media users.

Actress Emma Watson poses in London.
Watson's Instagram post had nearly one million likes and more than 89,000 comments by Tuesday [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

The official Instagram account of British actress Emma Watson has expressed solidarity with Palestinians in a new post, eliciting widespread support from pro-Palestine users but also drawing strong criticism from Israeli officials.

The account of the film star, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, shared a picture on Monday from a pro-Palestinian rally with the phrase, “Solidarity is a verb”.

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, a number of 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.”

Watson’s bio on Instagram says her account “has been taken over by an anonymous Feminist Collective”.

The post, which by Tuesday had nearly one million likes and more than 89,000 comments, 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 United Nations, 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 favor 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 United States 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 and activist Mohammed El-Kurd, who played a crucial role in raising international awareness about the forced eviction of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, responded saying that Watson’s “simple statement” had left “Zionists everywhere … in a frenzy”.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies