Emma Watson drew attention last week for diving into the online debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A controversial Instagram post from the ‘Harry Potter’ star expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people, but several pro-Israel figures were quick to accuse him of anti-Semitism.
Watson posted a photo of Palestinian protesters with the phrase “Solidarity is a verb” on it. The caption quoted feminist scholar Sara Ahmed, who said: “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 implies 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 live on common ground.
More from IndieWire
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan criticized Watson, Tweeter, “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 (which supports terrorism.) Other former Israeli politicians echoed similar sentiments, accusing Watson of hiding behind anti-Semitism to criticize a legitimate nation to defend itself against terrorism.
But Watson quickly found many advocates among his peers in the film industry. Artists for Palestine UK, a cultural network that bills itself as an organization “in solidarity with Palestinian rights,” released a statement supporting Watson signed by more than 40 Hollywood personalities.
“We join Emma Watson in supporting the simple statement that ‘solidarity is a verb’, including meaningful solidarity with Palestinians who are fighting for their human rights under international law,” the statement read. Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Jim Jarmusch, Viggo Mortenson, Gael García Bernal, Asif Kapadia, Ken Loach, James Schamus, Ramy Youssef, Mira Nair and Peter Capaldi are among the signatories of the letter. The group accuses the Israeli government of exploiting an imbalance of military power to implement racist policies and displace people from their homes. The statement also broadly denounces all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Emma Watson is no stranger to international activism, having previously served as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and serving on the G7 Women’s Rights Advisory Council.
Best of IndieWire
Sign up for the Indiewire newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.